Ever since his first appearance on Coronation Street, Antony Cotton’s character Sean Tully was accepted in to the community as a young, gay man, with his sexuality never having to be acknowledged or the focus of any hoo-hah. So it might come as a surprise to you to learn that Antony, who is also openly gay, has been the victim of abuse from gay fans!
Cotton has been talking about the issue while attending the recent Manchester Pride Fringe Festival, stating that some Corrie fans claim that he has “put the gay cause back 21 years!”
The actor went to reveal that he thinks the majority of those who make this claim are “kids” who have even gone as far as to say that he is a “disgrace” to the village!
The reason behind this, Cotton explained, is that some viewers see Sean as a stereotype, which he defended by saying: “Sean’s never had to explain who he was, he never had to come out, he was just accepted into the community of Weatherfield from the start.
“So for every one of those people who say to me that Sean’s a stereotype, and that he doesn’t have a political storyline, actually the fact that he’s never had to explain himself makes him the most political gay character in soap.”
Cotton – who’s also appeared in the hugely popular ITV jungle reailty show, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here – was joined at the festival by Coronation Street creator Tony Warren who first introduced the character of Sean and who hand-picked Cotton for the role. He too slammed the abusers whilst insisting that Cotton and his alter ego are “very, very different”, so much so in fact that Cotton “Couldn’t be further from his character!”
But that hasn’t stopped the haters, who Cotton revealed began targeting him before he had even joined the soap explaining: “When it was announced I was going into Corrie, an online petition was set up to have me sacked because people said I was going to put the gay cause back 25 years. That was six months before I even appeared on screen.”
But Cotton isn’t the only gay person on the show to have received abuse over their sexuality, and Corrie executive Tony Warren used the thought provoking discussion in Coming Out, from Script to Screen, in which he and Antony were joined by soap writers Damon Rochefort, Debbie Oates, Jonathan Harvey and co-star Brooke Vincent. In it, Warren revealed his own experiences of bigotry, which he first encountered when he started out in the business.
Coronation Street continues tonight at 7.30pm on ITV1 / ITV1 HD – Watch an interview with Antony in the clip below: