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EastEnders to get its first transgender character

(Image credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron)

Dominic Treadwell-Collins, the executive producer of EastEnders, has revealed that the BBC1 soap is to get its first transgender character.

It comes 17 years after Coronation Street made soap history by bringing transsexual character Hayley Patterson – later Cropper – onto the famous cobbles. Although some viewers and transgender rights campaign groups were unhappy about the decision to introduce a transsexual to the soap, Hayley became one of Corrie’s most beloved characters ever.

But whereas Hayley was played by a woman, the actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, Dominic insists that the new arrival to Walford should be played by a transgender actor. "I would want to cast a trans actor,” he said. “The pen hasn't hit the paper yet, but I am looking for actors and I need the right character."

Treadwell-Collins joined EastEnders in 2005 as a story editor. As well as introducing characters such as Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell, he also created the storyline in which gay Muslim character Syed Masood struggled to reconcile his faith with his sexuality, and was responsible for the “Who Killed Archie Mitchell?” mystery which culminated in the soap’s first live episode in February 2010.

In August 2013, he took over at the helm as Executive Producer after the soap had suffered some of its worst ratings ever. Since then he has brought it back from the brink with the introduction of the Carter family and other characters such as Dot’s grandson Charlie. He has also brought back characters such as Sonia Fowler, Martin Fowler, Stacey Branning and more recently, Kathy Beale, in the recent week of live episodes to celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary.