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Lesbian kiss for Aussie soap.

AUSTRALIAN soap Neighbours is set to get its first gay character.

The series, set in the suburbs of Melbourne, started in 1985 and has been broadcast on BBC1 since 1986.

But unlike UK soaps, it has never featured a homosexual character.

However, all that will change when student Lana Crawford makes her appearance later in the year.

Lana, played by actress Bridget Neval, 19, will share a kiss with fellow student Sky Mangel, played by Stephanie McIntosh.

Bridget said: 'My initial reaction to the part was surprise as Neighbours have never had a gay character.

'But the nature of the character never really bothered me. My only real concern was that the story would not be told in a sensationalist or distasteful way.

'She's not a stereotypical character and being gay is certainly not the only interesting thing about her.'

The show's bosses are expecting a strong reaction from their audience.

Executive producer Ric Pellizzeri said: 'Good serial TV must deal with real contemporary issues.'

A spokesman for the BBC said: 'The programme is enjoyed by a wide range of audience - it's not just a children's programme.

'But it's a relevant storyline and the production of these scenes will be carefully handled.'

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 21, 2004
Words:206
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