There aren’t enough happy, stable gay couples on TV, says Coronation Street star Daniel Brocklebank

The actor hopes that his Corrie character - vicar Billy Mayhew - has a bright future with Sean Tully

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Billy Mayhew and Sean Tully are to experience homophobia later this week when a narrow-minded landlord turns them away from a country pub hotel. But Daniel Brocklebank – who plays Billy – hopes that the bad experience will only make the couple stronger.

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Upcoming episodes will see Sean fretting after Julie calls the Weatherfield Gazette about the homophobic encounter. But Billy has other things on his mind: namely a confession that he is falling in love with Sean. Here, the actor who plays Weatherfield’s local vicar reveals how Sean reacts to Billy’s declaration…

So how does Billy feel about Sean?
I think Billy is absolutely in love with Sean. They make a very cute couple. Billy admires Sean’s no-nonsense attitude and good sense of humour.

Billy and Sean have been taking things slowly – is Billy naturally the type to do this or do his faith and profession play a part?
He’s the sort of guy to tread carefully. Maybe because I think he’s had his heart broken in the past. But his faith and job do have something to do with it too. Being in a vocational profession could cause problemsm especially if his partner didn’t understand the situation or why he has to put his job first.

We’re going to see Sean and Billy face homophobia when a narrow-minded landlord turns them away from a country pub hotel – what’s Billy’s reaction when this happens?
Billy’s angry with the hotel owner and disappointed that he didn’t say more at the time, but he’s very proud of Sean and the way he handled things.

If they’re not able to stay the night at the hotel, where do they end up going?
They finally consummate their relationship at the Grimshaws’. After being turned away from the B&B, they head back to number 11. They’ve been dating for six months by the time they actually sleep together, so they’ve got to know each other pretty well by that point.

Billy does tell Sean that he’s falling in love with him – what’s Sean’s reaction to this?
Sean’s a little shocked at first. I’m not sure he’s used to anyone being as emotionally honest as Billy is. Ultimately, Sean is pleased. I think he feels the same way.

Is Billy worried by the reaction of his parishioners to him having a serious relationship?
At first, yes. But that’s coming from a place of not feeling totally settled into his new parish. Once he’s more ingrained within the parish, I’m sure he wouldn’t be too worried at all. Billy is a progressive vicar and hopes to change people’s attitudes towards gay people and gay people of faith.

Has he tended to hide his sexuality in the past for fear of a backlash?
Not hide necessarily, but he’s certainly careful about who he tells. He’s probably come up against problems in the past. He’s certainly not shouting about his sexuality from the rooftops. Not because he’s embarrassed or ashamed of who and what he is, but out of respect for the fact that some of his parishioners might find it a little hard to deal with. It’s about education and baby steps with the more conservative parishioners.

Would he give up being a vicar for Sean?
Although it would be a tough decision, absolutely. He loves Sean and would do anything to make him happy.

And would you like Sean and Billy to become a settled couple?
Yes, I would. I think they’re great together. I also think it would be great to show a happy, stable gay couple on television. You don’t see that often enough.

Watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.

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