My gay smooch was given the OK by a six foot tall drag queen; Street star Bruno gets to grips with controversial kiss.
Coronation Street star Bruno Langley got the shock of his life when the show's scriptwriters told him: 'You're gay.'
'Was I pleased, horrified, surprised, shocked?' said the 21-year-old actor, who plays hospital porter Todd Grimshaw.
'I went through that whole range of emotions. But what worried me most was not that people would think was really gay... but that I'd do the part right.'
This week, Bruno kick-starts the biggest storyline of his four-year Corrie career.
Todd goes out for a night on the town with his gay mate Karl (Chris Finch), who is celebrating a birthday. They end up having a steamy kiss outside a gay bar and Todd's suppressed feelings come spilling out.
Todd's partner Sarah Platt (Tina O'Brien) arrives at the bar with her pal Katy Harris (Lucy Jo Hudson) and just misses catching the two men in a clinch.
The controversial scenes were filmed in Canal Street, the gay area of Manchester.
Any worries Bruno had of making the snogging scenes look convincing were quickly dispelled thanks to a 6ft drag queen, who was watching filming while working on the door of a bar in the area.
Talking for the first time about his blockbuster storyline, Bruno told me: 'He, or she, was known as The Door Whore and looked totally over the top with green hair and huge platform high heels.
'I got the thumbs up and thought, 'I've been accepted. I must be making a good job of this'.
'Filming in the clubs and bars on Canal Street was a pretty big operation. It was a normal night down there. We had about 30 extras to make the place look a little busier but there were plenty of real people out for the night, too.
'The gay community were very interested in what we were doing. They all stood watching the filming... clapping and egging us on shouting, 'Give him another kiss'.
'The advantage of being there was it gave you a real feeling of the atmosphere. It was very different from being on the normal Corrie set.' And it's not the first time Todd has shown some gay inclinations. As Corrie fans can tell you, he's engaged to Sarah and they live in a flat above the bookies, where Todd plays doting dad to her beautiful daughter Bethany.
The couple are also soon to become parents together after Sarah revealed to a delighted Todd that she was pregnant.
But last year, during a drunken night at the flat, he kissed Sarah's horrified brother Nick Tilsley (Adam Rickitt).
However, Todd gets a very different response this time when he plants a smacker on Karl's lips.
When Karl's boyfriend Robbie (Colin Parry) turns up Todd gets jealous and storms out of the gay bar. All the feelings he's been harbouring towards his mate come pouring out. So was it tough to film the kissing scene? Bruno said: 'It felt like an obstacle I just had to get over. It seemed to provoke a bigger reaction from other people. They would say, 'Ooh, God, how are you gonna do that?' 'I took the view that it's good for the storyline. So I just had to do it.
'When it came to physically doing it I felt a bit strange. It's always funny kissing somebody or trying to be intimate with them when you are surrounded by 20 members of a television crew.
'When the person you are kissing is another male that makes it even more difficult.
'I just tried to make a good job of it. I imagined I was kissing another woman apart from the stubble, of course.
'We didn't do it in one take we had to do it a lot of times on the streets of Manchester, surrounded by dozens of passers-by and paparazzi photographers.'
Bruno also sought out Corrie scriptwriter Darren Little who is gay and asked for some advice. 'I talked to Darren because this is his story,' revealed Bruno. 'He told me all about his life and what he went through.
So took his experiences and tried to put them on to Todd I tried to imagine how he'd react.
'I'm here to play this part to the best of my ability. Top of my list of priorities is to make the character seem true.'
The new gay storyline requires an about turn for dependable Todd, who is looking forward to the impending arrival of a new baby with fiancee Sarah.
'That's what makes the plot so exciting,' said Bruno. 'About 99 per cent of Todd's life is great. He's in a very loving, happy relationship with Sarah and little Bethany. But there's this one per cent of which he's not quite sure which is just getting bigger and bigger all the time.
'I think he genuinely wants to be a good dad for Beth. But there's something pulling him back.'
This week, millions of Corrie fans will be glued to their tellys to see how the story unfolds. How does the actor think viewers will react when Toddy and Karl kiss?
'The storyline has been handled so sensitively,' said Bruno.
'Ratings are important, of course getting more people watching would be great. But maybe people are going to turn off, who knows?
'The thing is Manchester is such a gay capital. It's madness for the show not to have a gay character.'
But Bruno won't be tuning into the controversial episodes. He hates watching himself on screen.
He said: 'I deliberately haven't watched the scene where Todd kisses Karl.
'I've tended to stay away from it. I don't like seeing myself on screen.
'I used to pick my performance to pieces. Now I don't bother watching.
'I go by other people's reactions. My family have been very supportive. go home and get the mickey taken out of me. I've got some real stick but in a light-hearted way.'
He added:'Before I became a member of the Corrie cast I never used to watch the show.
Neither did my family. didn't feel it was particularly relevant to me at the time.
'People get brought up on the show. No matter what else is happening in their lives Corrie is always on the telly.
'I suppose I didn't get the appeal until I became a part of it. Now I realise just how good it is.'
And what's next for Todd Grimshaw? Will he be consumed by his gay feelings or continue trying to do what's best for Sarah and Bethany?
'I've kinda stopped asking which path Todd's life is going to go along,' admitted Bruno. 'It's nice to think I've made a little bit of Coronation Street history with the first gay kiss.
'I didn't realise how much of an institution it was until began working here. I feel very proud to be a part of it.'
They're behind you... Sarah and Katy miss out on the gay snog; Corrie's dad-to-be Todd, right, is ready to reveal his feelings for Karl by kissing him; Sarah meets Todd after his gay kiss with Karl
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|Publication:||Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Apr 11, 2004|
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