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The UK has more regular LGBTI characters on TV than in the US

The UK has more regular LGBTI characters on TV than in the US

Ben Whishaw starred in gay drama London Spy

Tonight is the launch of Versailles, a new drama airing on the BBC about the life of Louis XIV. The first episode will feature the French king’s brother Philippe having sex with his nobleman lover.

This is just the latest featured gay character to appear on UK TV in the past year.

In our by-no-means exhaustive look at the LGBTI characters that have appeared on TV from May 2015 to May 2016, we found 45 on UK television. We didn’t count US or Australian television that airs on UK TV.

To compare that with the United States, with its hundreds of channels and streaming services, GLAAD’s last comprehensive TV report found only 35 regular characters that identify as LGBTI. It did note that there were 35 other semi-regular LGBTI characters on American television.

While they are mostly confined to soap dramas, there are still openly gay characters in comedies and dramas in the UK. This has been thanks to more LGBTI programming, such as drama London Spy, Russell T Davies shows Cucumber and Banana, as well as the first sitcom to feature a trans actress in a trans role Boy Meets Girl.

The majority of the LGBTI characters are on the BBC.

This report does not even include the role that LGBTI people play in non-fictional television in the UK, with two gay men presenting the biggest chat shows – Graham Norton and Alan Carr.

Take a look at some of the most important LGBTI characters on TV below:


Kyle Slater (EastEnders)

Ben Mitchell (Eastenders)

Johnny Carter (Eastenders)

Tina Carter (Eastenders)

Paul Coker (Eastenders)

Dominic Copeland (Holby City)

Ben Harding (Casualty)

Conor Martin (6 Degrees)

Justin Pollock (6 Degrees)

Robbie Fraser (River City)

Daniel Holt (London Spy)

Scottie (London Spy)

Judy (Boy Meets Girl)

PC Jake Vickers (Cuffs)

Simon Reddington (Cuffs)

PC Donna Prager (Cuffs)

Major Lance “Corky” Corkoran (The Night Manager)

Caroline (Last Tango In Halifax)

Kate (Last Tango In Halifax)


Kate Connor (Coronation Street)

Caz (Coronation Street)


Sean Tully (Coronation Street)

Sophie Powers (Coronation Street)

Sian Powers (Coronation Street)

Aaron Livesy (Emmerdale)

Robert Jacob Sugden (Emmerdale)

Leonard Finch (Grantchester)

Sven (The Durrells)

Teresa Fenchurch (Home Fires)

Channel 4 and E4

Ste Hay (Hollyoaks)

JP McQueen (Hollyoaks)

George Smith (Hollyoaks)

Danny Lomax (Hollyoaks)

Vincent Elegba (Hollyoaks)

Henry Best (Cucumber and Banana)

Lance Sullivan (Cucumber)

Cliff Costello (Cucumber and Banana)

Freddie Baxter (Cucumber and Banana)

Dean Monroe (Cucumber and Banana)

Vivenne ‘Scotty’ Scott (Cucumber and Banana)

Sian Moore (Banana)

Violet (Banana)

Aidan (Banana)

Frank (Banana)

Sam (Crashing)

Archie (My Mad Fat Diary)

Additional reporting by Joe Morgan.