Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Your views on Corrie's gay characters


I've been having a good old muse about Coronation Street's gay characters and the direction they are currently heading in thanks to the powers that be and the Corrie writing team. I must start this blog by saying thank goodness we have gay male and female characters in Weatherfield these days to actually talk about. Progress at last. 

Currently we have four gay characters, well three and a half if you count Marcus and his current partner, Maria (no, that's not just a strange name for a bloke). So we have Marcus Dent, Sean Tully, Sawphie Webster and her new girlfriend, Jenna Kamara.

Let's start with the longest standing character on that list - Sean Tully. Sean has been a regular in Corrie for almost a decade and certainly does split viewers - some love him and others, well not so much. When Sean first appeared amid the Todd and Karl coming out storyline back in 2003 he was like a breath of fresh air. He was like Bet Lynch, only less butch. He was funny, bright and unlucky in love, just how we like our Corrie characters. He freshened up both the Grimshaw household and Underworld. For a while he was flavour of the month, appearing everywhere, and then something went wrong.

I really liked Sean when he first appeared. I also enjoyed watching the early days of his relationship with Marcus, but it wasn't to be. Sean's character has unfortunately started to grate on my nerves and I really dislike his selfish "all about me" childishness. He must be in his late 30s now and unfortunately, like many Corrie characters he just hasn't progressed or moved on. I think he suffered from over-exposure (shudder!) and in my view, it will be hard to rescue him from this slippery slope. There are rumours that he may be heading for a new romance in the future so let's hope that sees an improvement. Otherwise, I'd be happy to see him leave the cobbles.

So what about Sean's ex, Marcus Dent? I really really like Marcus. I always thought he was too good for Sean. He's a well-rounded, caring, sympathetic character of the kind that seem to be in short supply in Coronation Street today. Charlie Condou is a great actor and is always believable. I know his current story, which sees him in a surprise relationship with Maria Connor, has divided fans. I think it works though. The actors clearly demonstrate how much the characters do care about each other and I think Marcus makes a great father figure and role model for Liam. How much of this relationship is down to the instant family Marcus has long craved, I don't know but I guess time will tell.

I would really like to see Marcus interact more with his parents. We saw a glimpse of them at Christmas and I think there would be plenty of mileage in having them back again. I hope Marcus and Maria are not a flash in the pan, even if he eventually gets back on the other bus.  Ten years ago Corrie could never have explored this kind of angle so I think we must see it as a positive thing.


Finally, let's look at the only current gay relationship in Coronation Street, that of Sophie and Jenna. i like both characters individually however I had real reservations about them being together. I just couldn't see it happening in real life - it didn't seem true to me. However recent, more relaxed scenes between Jenna and Sophie have seen me warming to them as a couple. I also like how accepting Sally has been. So please, less drama and more humour in the Webster household! I was never a huge fan of the Sophie and Sian partnership. I always felt a more mature lesbian character would have been a better approach, rather than two screechy teenage girls. I hope Jenna's arrival will see Sophie grow up. 

Another interesting aspect of this relationship is Mandy's reaction. Jenna's mum was less than pleased when Jenna came out and not just because she was dating someone significantly younger. Mandy had a point when she despaired about Jenna losing her job and career prospects. I too was upset with this - there is a serious lack of educated young people in Corrie and I think this is something that needs to be rectified. I would like to see Mandy getting closer to Jenna and Sophie in the months ahead - some scenes with Sally could also be quite amusing.

So what do you think about the current crop of gay men and women in Coronation Street? Do you have a favourite? Anyone you'd gladly see the back of? 

And more importantly, do you think they are representative of gay men and women in British society today?


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26 comments:

Tvor said...

I like that Mandy had a negative reaction at first. Mainly, because it came from shock and surprise, and Mandy's expectations of Jenna and what life holds for her had to change. I think she has accepted Jenna as gay but her dislike for Sophie stems from Sophie's involvement in Jenna losing her career and any mother would probably take the same negative position whether the person in question was same sex or not.

I still prefer Jenna and Sophie just as friends. I still think they have nothing in common and won't be in it for the long term but i like Jenna and yes, maybe Sophie will grow a bit and find some direction to her own life.

Janice said...

There is one more character you have not mentioned. Norris Cole. No one can seriously expect us to take him for a straight man. Yes he was married to Angela but then many gay men of his generation married for cover. Like Sean he is one of the girls with the older women. Like Sean he loves to gossip and pry. Like Sean he has no life of his own and merely meddles in the affairs of others. He is a s much a stereotype as Sean. Let him put Mary out of her misery, let him confess.

Graeme N said...


haha! Do you really think Norris is gay? I wonder if we will ever get to the erm bottom of this one?!

Anonymous said...

I love the character of Marcus but am tiring of Sean. Sean needs to grow up and get a life of his own it is high time he got his own place surely he can afford a small apartment. I would really like to see Sean in a loving relationship. As far as Jenna and Sophie are concerned I don't see any chemistry there whatsover to me it is not realistic. What on earth do they have in common? I really hope Jenna doesn't end up with a dead-end job like everyone else on the street. What are the options the factory, the pub or Dev's? Perhaps she could get a job at the medical centre? Does Diedre still work there?

Humpty Dumpty said...

Sean's story lines have mainly been about his sexuality and that's tedious in the same way it would be if Izzy's stories were all about her disability, or Dev only having racist stories. Sean is boring but Marcus is well-rounded and has a profession which gives him some depth. I'm afraid I didn't like Sophie before her lesbian relationships and no change there. Sophie and Jenna were rushed through and I don't quite believe it yet or care much. If Sean is to have a new partner, I suggest the writers look at the gay couple in Desperate Housewives (Bob & Lee) who had some sls about their sexuality but equally were simply involved in neighbourhood life.

Anonymous said...

I have a somewhat different comment to make. Please put this in the context of me having a few gay friends, both male and female.

Would a street the size of Coronation Street really have four gay residents? I think this is a bit of over-representation.

And well spotted, Janice. I think you could be right about Norris.
Bev

Chatty Kathy said...

Janice, I also have always wondered about Norris. And like you said, the fact that he was married is not significant because many gay people have married the opposite sex for all types of reasons; ie: the desire to actually become straight, the desire to hide their homosexuality, the desire to lead a "normal" life, etc.

The only reason I hesitate to pronounce Norris gay is because he obviously loves Rita, and has for a long time. Now whether this is a romantic or platonic love, I'm not sure. He showed jealousy and resentment towards all the men who showed romantic interest in her, which tends to suggest that his love for her isn't platonic. So I'm still on the fence about him regarding his sexual preference.

Rachel said...

Bring back Ted!

Graeme N said...


Rachel what an excellent idea! I've said that many a time - couldn't agree more. I think the actor is currently appearing in another ITV drama so I doubt we'll see him again :(

Graeme N said...


Bev - I think that is a fair point to make. After forty-odd years of no gay presence at all, it may have suddenly felt like a deluge! However if the characters are well rounded and well played I don't think it should matter.

Chatty Kathy said...

Since the gay population is estimated at 10%, if there are 40 people on the cobbles, then statistically 4 gay characters would be correct. And if there are more than 40, it's actually low.

Flaming Nora said...

I actually like Sean and want him to find happiness even if it is just with Eileen and a bottle of red on the sofa watching old movies on a Saturday night together.

I don't like Sophie and Jenna as a couple though. Jenna is way too intelligent and good for Sophie, but they're fine as friends. Would like to see Sophie and Jenna find their equals.

ChiaGwen said...

Love Marcus to bits but dislike Sean and Sophie. Jenna I could handle if she had been brought in as a love interest for Lloyd instead of his daughter. Anything keeping Sophie on our screens is a very bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Marcus and Jenna are the only salvaable ones, and that's only because Jenna's just gotten started.

Mary Prankster said...

I hope I live long enough to see the day when people's sexual orientation, like their skin colour, will not be a topic needing to be mentioned, let alone discussed ad nauseum, since it will not be relevant for anything, except perhaps wardrobe choice!

Graeme N said...


Me too, but I don't think we're there quite yet.

Mary Prankster said...

I don't know how this bodes for Ted's return, but he had a small part in the movie "Quartet", so he is continuing to work at several other things.

Anonymous said...



Norris has never been written as a gay character, has been married twice and proposed to two more ladies that I can remember, possibly three. Never a hint of gayness in the writing, in fact he was a go-getting salesman as first written.

What you have here is just an actor with a very limited range who always plays his roles as a gay man. Look at his old major role in "A Bit of a Do". He has gradually turned Norris into the same character.

Which is not to say I don't like him.

I acknowledge that it's a soap originated by a gay man and currently designed to draw in a gay audience, but to the rest of us the gay focus can be a bit much.

vicky said...

I don't get this business about "four gay characters on one street is too much." There's no such thing as a street that represents the demographics of the entire population. Real streets don't work like that. And gay people do tend to be in relationships with other gay people, so it's not as if the gay population is equally divided between streets.

And Weatherfield is not far off Manchester, which has a strong gay community. If anything, Corrie seems at times to be less diverse than you would expect so close to a major city.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree Vicky. To my knowledge there are whole streets not too far from Weatherfield where nearly everyone is gay. Manchester is well known for having a thriving gay scene and draws in people from a wide radius who don't want to be the only gay in their village.

There hasn't been much representation of gays on TV, so plotlines featuring them are often fresher eg Maria and Marcus. That said, I'm not keen on stories about gay characters sexuality. It would be nice to have entertaining, interesting, well rounded characters not gays, asians, blacks, pensioners,....

Frosty the Snowman said...

Marcus is great, a decent bloke and well acted and portrayed. Sean however is a camp nightmare. Now middle aged, mincing about like Mr Humphries just seems a bit pathetic, cant like him either as he is too childish and self centred so dont really care what happens to him. Even his comb over annoys me. Everyone who reads this board will know my opinion on Sophie and Jenna is quickly becoming as annoying as her sugar mummy.

Anonymous said...

Gay..straight..who cares anymore. What I'd like to see is at least one character try for higher education..a life beyond the faktry, the kebab shop or the Bistro...wait..the Bistro is a goldmine...Nick is rolling in the dough so forget that. Maybe Jenna can talk Sophie into going back to college or she could open her own Physio clinic...I think she's qualified.

Graeme N said...


I agree - do we know why nobody goes on to better themselves?! Is it because it would lead them to a life away from the street? That's the only reason I can come up with

DWBarker said...

Sean always seems like he's channeling John Inman. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

I can't stand Sean and I don't like the actor who just plays himself. I'm glad to see a bisexual character in Marcus as it gives the character more scope.

jennywxy said...

I agree with the anonymous poster who said that it's completely unlikely there'd be 4 gay characters in one small street and now with Todd there will be another one. It's as if the producers are trying so hard to appeal to all groups that they are ignoring the fact that its making the programme totally far fetched. Back to the characters, I like Marcus and Sean is OTT but entertaining. Sohpie and Jenna are not believable at all although I shouldn't really comment on Sophie as her awful voice grates so much that I have to turn the volume down whenever she's on.

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