To celebrate the fact that Eastenders has been one of the beacons of LGBT storylines, we’ve decided to discover the gayest moments of the landmark soap, which has been at the forefront of gay storylines.
In date order….
10) Underage At The Time 1987
In 1987 Colin Russel (Michael Cashman) And Barry Clark (Gary Hailes) labelled by the Sun, as “two yuppie poofters” were the first gay couple on EastEnders. Their first kiss received a record number of complaints, even more than a Celebrity Big Brother with Perez… At the time, the age of sexual consent for gay people was 21. The police were more concerned with the pairs’ relationship rather than a break-in at their home. Barry ends his relationship when the police tell his parents.
9) Dot Starts AIDS Rumours 1988
9) Dot Cotton (June Brown) spreads rumours that Colin has AIDS when she discovers Colin and Barry share the same bed. This was at the height of the AIDS epidemic and the storyline help frame the nation’s discussion towards the issue. Her rumours cause some of Walford to shun Colin. Despite this, Dot and Colin forge a strong relationship.
8) The Most Watched Gay Kiss 1989
Colin and Guido Smith (Nicholas Donovan), had a cheeky snog in 1989 in front of an audience of 17-million viewers – the world’s most watched gay kiss in a soap.
7) When The Curious Guy And The Bi Guy Get It Together 1996
Tony Hills (Mark Homer) And Simon Raymond (Andrew Lynford), Tony was a bit of bisexual lothario, having numerous relationships with men and women, most notably with Tiffany (Martine McCutcheon) – however after confiding with Simon, her brother, that he was confused about his sexuality, the pair get together. Tony and Simon drew some criticism for not being “gay” enough. Their first kissed caused controversy in the UK. Seeing a pattern here?
First Civil Partnership 2005
Christian Clarke (John Partridge) and Syed Masood (Marc Elliott) caused near hysteria with Daily Mail readers with their pre-watershed romantic moments. Hurrah we say. They were the first gay couple to celebrate a civil partnership.
5) Curious Steven Beale 2008
4) Steven Beale (Aaron Sidwell) A confused Steven tries to get together with Stacey, however, can’t, forcing him to question his sexuality, leading to kissing Christian Clarke. Speaking about the kiss, Aaron, who identifies as straight said it was a ‘cracking scene.’
4) Youngest Coming Out 2011
A 15-year-old Ben Mitchell(Joshua Pascoe) tells Christian Clarke that he gay, being the youngest character to come out on EastEnders.
3) When Johnny Kissed Gary 2013
3) When Johnny Carter (Sam Strike) and bisexual Danny Pennant (Gary Lucy) shared a kiss the BBC received just two complaints, however, comments on social media weren’t so kind.
2) When Johnny Came Out 2014
Johnny Carter coming out to his pa, Mick Carter was a landmark moment for EastEnders, so well judged and superbly acted – it brought a tear to our eye.
1) The death of Paul Coker
Beaten in a tragic anti-gay attack, Ben Mitchell’s boyfriend dies in hospital. Many people took to social media to say how important the storyline was to highlighting violence against LGBT people.