Coronation Street introduces first black family in the show's history

6 April 2019, 11:24 | Updated: 6 April 2019, 21:53

Coronation Street
The Baileys will arrive on Coronation Street this summer. Picture: ITV

By Beci Wood

Coronation Street will welcome the Bailey family onto the show's famous cobbles in June in a bid to tackle the show's lack of diversity.

Father Edison, mother Aggie and their grown-up sons Michael and James will move into No.3 after buying the house from Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden).

There have been no full-time black characters since the departure of Angie Appleton (Victoria Ekanoye) in January.

Producer Iain MacLeod told ITV: "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.

Coronation Street
Mum Aggie Bailey. Picture: ITV

"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.

"Manchester has a lot of black residents so it did feel sort of overdue we did this and represented modern Manchester a bit more accurately."

Coronation Street
Michael Bailey. Picture: ITV

While the show has previously featured black characters, this is the first time a black family has been introduced.

When asked why the show has never had a black family before, 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.

Coronation Street
James Bailey. Picture: ITV

The addition of the new family will help the soap to explore the themes of racism and homophobia in sport as 19-year-old Weatherfield County footballer James (played by musical theatre star Nathan Graham) is due to come out as gay in an upcoming storyline.

MacLeod continued: "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.

Coronation Street
Dad Edison Bailey. Picture: ITV

"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."

Trevor Michael Georges will play builder Edison, who takes over the builder's yard with son Michael (CBeebies House' presenter Ryan Russell) and Lorna Laidlaw is set to star as matriarch and pharmacy assistant Aggie. 

Daughter Diana - who has yet to be cast by producers - will join the family on the cobbles at a later date.