Coronation Street is welcoming the first black family in the soap’s history onto the famous cobbles.
The Baileys – made up of father Edison, mother Aggie and sons Michael and James – are due to move into number three after buying the house from Norris.
The soap is set to explore themes of racism and homophobia in sport with the family, as 19-year-old footballer James is due to come out as gay in an upcoming storyline.
Producer Iain MacLeod said: “The north-west and Great Britain as a whole is a big melting pot of people from different backgrounds and ethnicities and the more representative we can make Corrie of Manchester and Britain the better really.
“It was a no-brainer, but I mean, as with anything on Coronation Street, it was the characters that came first and [the Baileys] were just instantly likeable.”
Although the show has cast individual black characters, the Baileys are the first black family to be brought in all together.
The fact it has taken so long to introduce a black family to the long-running soap has not gone unnoticed, with many calling out the show for taking 59 years to do so...
Asked why the show hasn’t done so in its 59-year history, producer MacLeod said: “Short answer – I don’t really know.
“In the past, new families come in one at a time. I find that a harder way to do it, which is why they all turn up and you get the dynamic.
“Manchester has a large proportion of black residents so it did feel sort of overdue we did this and represented modern Manchester a bit more accurately.”
The baby of the family James, played by 28-year-old musical theatre star Nathan Graham, will play for Weatherfield County, and will come out as gay in one of the family’s storylines.
MacLeod said: “We wanted to look at a modern story about a young, gay man. It won’t be your normal coming out story where we see James wrestling with his sexuality.
“We were quite keen that he knows who he is but has some apprehensiveness about telling his parents, has a lot of apprehensiveness about his teammates potentially finding out.
“When we meet the character he’s on the cusp of bigger things football-wise and is also aware that despite the progress we’ve made as a society, homophobia on the terraces is still fairly rampant.”
The foursome are set to appear on our screens in early June.