Dan Brocklebank 'honoured' by Corrie's first ever successful gay wedding

Coronation Street couple Paul Foreman (Peter Ash) and Billy Mayhew (Dan Brocklebank) are going through the worst possible time as Paul struggles with the ever-worsening effects of his Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Paul has seen a progressive worsening of his symptoms and knows that his time is limited and there’s no cure for the illness. While it’s incredibly hard for him to deal with, it’s also terribly painful for the people who love him including, of course, his partner Billy.

Dan Brocklebank, who has personal experience of MND after his grandfather died of the disease, and who has worked with the MND Association since then, pointed out to us that it’s important that the show focuses not just on the sadness, but on happier times too.

‘I think when you are living with a terminal diagnosis, you don’t spend your whole day just focusing on that diagnosis,’ he explained. ‘You do try to live in the moment, especially with MND, because you might wake up one morning and you walk fine and then by lunchtime, your right leg has given way and never comes back again. So I think living in that moment is vital and we are showing that too.’

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What happens is that, out of a very dark situation where Paul asks Billy to help him die when the time comes, Paul eventually asks his partner to marry him.

‘When Paul says I’ve got something I need to ask you. Billy automatically assumes that it’s going to be a proposal,’ Dan said. ‘He gets so excited. He gets himself all dolled up. He lights a candle. And then Paul basically asks him to help him kill himself when the time comes. That was not what he was expecting. But eventually Paul does ask him to marry him and he is thrilled.’

Billy is a little bit disappointed that they can’t get married in a church, but Dan told us that the most important thing for Billy is the marriage itself.

‘I think it comes down to the fact that Paul is dying. On some level, of course, he would like to get married in a church that is, of course, his ideal wedding. But knowing that it’s not possible. I suppose marrying a man that you love, even if in a non religious setting is better than not marrying him at all.’

If and when the wedding goes ahead it will be the first Coronation Street gay wedding, after Sian Powers (Sacha Parkinson) and Sophie Webster (Brooke Vincent) previously only got as far as the altar but didn’t tie the knot.

This is something that Dan said makes him feel honoured.

‘I do feel slightly honoured, I’m thrilled. I mean, obviously there’s been long running gay characters in the show, prior to Billy with Todd (Gareth Pierce) and Sean (Antony Cotton) and also Sophie. And I’m thrilled that we are going to finally have a wedding.

‘Billy has been on the other side of the altar for so many it seems fitting for him to have the first one, and with him being a religious man it is significant in that way too. Although he hasn’t been the best omen at weddings. Most of the ones he has officiated at haven’t ended well! Let’s hope that doesn’t jinx it.’

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