Coronation Street airs the first appearance of the Bailey family on Wednesday 22nd May when youngest son James (Nathan Graham) clashes with stressed Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) in his cobbles debut, with the rest of the clan joining in June.
Cabbie Steve illegally picks up 19-year-old James and his mates up from a bowling alley, but when they try to avoid paying the fare he flips and attacks them with a baseball bat, still scarred from last week’s terrifying carjacking where he was hijacked and forced at knifepoint to act as a getaway driver from an armed robbery.
When the group of lads flee down Victoria Street fearing for their lives, James is hit by a speeding car. Luckily the teen is unhurt and when guilt-ridden Steve takes him back to the Street Cars office to check he’s okay it transpires James is an up-and-coming professional footballer who plays for Mr McDonald’s beloved Weatherfield County.
Not wanting his name, and his club, to be dragged into disrepute he asks Steve to forget about the fare-dodging, only for the police to arrive to discuss the robbery – and they immediately have some questions about what just happened out on the street…
Is Steve’s livelihood in danger if the boys in blue discover he’s been picking up passengers hailing him down, which is against minicab licensing laws?
When do the rest of the Bailey family arrive on Coronation Street?
James is set to be a Street regular when he moves into No 3 (Norris’s old place) in June with the rest of the Baileys – mum Aggie (ex-Doctors star Lorna Laidlaw), dad Edison (Michael Georges) and older brother Michael (Ryan Russell).
James’s budding sports career will be the subject of his first major storyline as he comes out as gay and finds himself the victim of homophobia in the football industry.
“We wanted to look at homophobia in football and do a modern story about coming out,” says Corrie producer Iain MacLeod. “James knows who he is but he is apprehensive about his teammates finding out. He’s on the cusp of bigger things in his football career and aware homophobia on the terraces is fairly rampant. He’s scared about the reaction.”