RYAN Russell has been pictured on the set of Coronation Street for the first time alongside co-star Kym Marsh.
The 26-year-old actor looked in good spirits as he arrived on location and emerged from a taxi this morning ahead of his first day of filming.
The former Cbeebies star wore a long blue puffer jacket with an ITV logo on the front, teamed with jeans and trainers.
Meanwhile, Kym Marsh, 42, who plays Michelle Connor in the soap, looked stunning as she walked alongside the soap newbie wearing a matching red puffer jacket, black dress and white trainers.
It was revealed last week that Ryan has joined the soap as a member of the soap’s first black family and will play the role of Michael Bailey.
Michael will soon move onto the street after his mum Agatha Bailey-who played Lorna Laidlaw in Doctor’s- buys Norris Cole’s old house.
Michael, 27, will arrive with Agatha, his builder father Edison and his 19-year-old brother James.
Michael will be an entrepreneur dreamer while professional footballer James will become the cobbles’ newest gay character as the storyline sees him come out to his family in emotional scenes.
The new boss of the soap, Iain MacLeod, revealed he had long planned to bring in the show’s first black family at once since August.
And he revealed, it is long overdue, telling The Sun Online: “Why it taken so long to have a black family, I don’t know. To a degree it’s before my time, I wouldn’t presume to speak of others motivations. In the past, new families come in one person at a time, and I find that a harder way to do it which is why they all turn up at once [this time].
“Manchester has a large proportion of black residents, it did feel overdue that we did this and represented modern Manchester a bit more accurately. As to why it’s taken ‘til now I don’t know.”
The show will also tackle the issue of homophobia in football when younger son James comes out and faces both a homophobic and racist reaction at work as a player.
Iain added: “We wanted to look at homophobia in sport, and homophobia in football so that will be a component of the story but also we wanted to look at modern story about young gay man.
“So it won’t be your normal coming out story where we say James wrestling with his sexuality, we’re quite keen that he knows who he is, but has some apprehensiveness about telling his parents, and some apprehensiveness about his teammates finding out, that when we meet the character he’s on the cusp of bigger things football wise, and is also aware that despite the progress that we’ve made as a society, in lots of areas, homophobia on the terraces is fairly rampant.
“He’s scared about the reaction. But not because he’s worried that his family will reject him.
“It’s more about the football. It’s a big moment for anybody to sit your family down. We wanted to make this a very modern coming out story rather than the ones we’ve seen.
The foursome are going to be a very close-knit family but they will later joined by their sister, Diana, named after the Princess of Wales, who will arrive in explosive style later this year.
Iain added: “They’ve got a sister as well – in age terms she is half way between James and Michael.
“We don’t meet her quite yet – she’s called Diana or Dee Dee – Aggie isn’t a massive royalist but by God that woman had good taste in clothes.
“Her birth will have roughly coincided with the death of Princess Diana so she’s called Diane or Dee or Princess by the brothers because she’s whatever the female equivalent of a Golden Balls is.
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“Aggie will come off the phone and say she can’t make it for Easter because she has a conference in Chicago. She’s over there somewhere.
“We’ve not cast her yet – she will be an off screen presence a bit like Brenda from Streetcars – and will be a source of comedy friction around the dinner table and it’ll be like ‘awww, your sister has just sent a picture of her new convertible’.
So hopefully there’ll be some anticipation of the kind of character she is before she arrives.”
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