Actress Catherine Tyldesley is reportedly due to play a new lesbian character in Coronation Street.
She will take on the role of Eva, the daughter of new Rovers Return landlady Stella.
Last year the actor briefly appeared on Emmerdale as prison officer Abi Peterson, who struck up a relationship with Ryan Lamb (James Sutton) while he was behind bars.
Manchester’s famous street is also home to lesbian couple Sophie and Sian (Brooke Vincent and Sacha Parkinson) as well as Sean Tully (Anthony Cotton) and his on-off boyfriend Marcus (Charlie Condue).
The show also features Eileen Grimshaw’s absent gay son Todd and transsexual Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh).
The recent peak of gay exposure on the soap could be due to producer Phil Collinson’s promise to “look at sexuality in a much more hard-hitting way”.
Yet the decision to up the programme’s LGBT visibility has been attacked by some members of cast and crew.
Jean Alexander who played Hilda Ogden for 23 years, claimed the storylines were outlandish : “Every community has people who are gay and they are very nice people… I’m not running the Street down, and let’s not forget its creator Tony Warren is gay, but three couples seems excessive.”
Nick Cochran who played Andy Macdonald added “It’s unrealistic. Would one road in a working class area generally produce that number of gay people?”
An insider has commented on recent backstage tension on the show: “It’s not a happy place to be at the moment – and there is growing unrest that the show is losing its way. Many cast and crew think the storylines unrealistic.”