National icon and soap opera fan Panti has lashed out at viewers who complained about a gay kiss on Coronation Street, telling them to “grow up”.
Monday night’s episode of the long-running soap saw Todd Grimshaw and partner Billy enjoying a passionate kiss on the bed of a boutique hotel. The get-away doesn’t go well for the couple, who quarrel over sex before separating.
After the scene, several irate viewers hopped on social media to express their displeasure.
Speaking to the Daily Star, Panti’s alter-ego Rory O’Neill hit back at critics, saying “If it was a straight couple and the scene was exactly the same and you weren’t going to complain about that then you’ve no other reason to complain about a gay couple.”
“If the only reason you’re complaining because it is a gay couple and it is before the watershed, then grow up.”
“If they were showing full on sex, then fine, complain but if you are complaining because of the gender of people involved then grow up.”
Other viewers took a different attitude to the scene, with one clever Tweeter posting: ‘To think, Beth Jordache snogged a woman in Brookside 22 years ago… And people are STILL upset to see gay people kissing in 2016.’
An ITV spokesman also defended the episode in a statement. “We approach the portrayal of homosexual relationships in the same way as heterosexual relationships, and we carefully consider all scenes in our soaps, and their suitability for pre watershed audiences.
“We do not believe that the content of last night’s episode was inappropriately scheduled, or exceeded generally accepted standards for content broadcast at this time.”
Daniel Brocklebank, who plays Vicar Billy, took to Twitter to thank fans for their support. “So many lovely, supportive & hilarious tweets about tonight’s @itvcorrie!
“Plus only a few from the homophobes! Maybe we’re winning a little.”
“Had many angry tweets saying ‘I’m disgusted my kids saw men kiss on tv’,” he later added. “I’m disgusted they left it up tv to teach their kids how love works.”