In a first for UK soaps, a transgender actor has been cast as a trans character on EastEnders and is set to become a regular on the soap.
Actor Riley Carter Millington will play Kyle, a young transgender man who will arrive on the Square this month and is set for a long-running role on the soap.
Producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins announced last March that he wanted to cast a trans character and wanted to make sure the role was played by an actual trans actor, which is a first in soapland.
(Yes we know we had Hayley Cropper on Corrie, which was groundbreaking, but she was played by actress Julie Hesmondhalgh.)
Treadwell-Collins said: "I’ve sat in many acting workshops over the years with our casting executive Julia Crampsie and her team – but never have we been so moved by the incredible life stories and wealth of talent that we experienced over our several weeks of workshops with transgender actors.
“In Riley, we have found not just a talented actor but also an inspirational young man whose warmth immediately comes through the screen. And this isn’t about tokenism. Alex Lamb and his story team have worked with Riley to create an EastEnders character who is fresh and relatable – but also comes with his own stock of secrets and is going to be thrown right into one of our biggest stories for the end of the year."
This will be Carter Millington's first acting role, and he can't wait to get started; "I am extremely excited to be joining EastEnders. I can honestly say that I have now fulfilled my two biggest dreams – to be living my life as a man and to be an actor.
"I cannot wait to really get stuck in with filming and I look forward to seeing what is in store for my character."
The news marks a pretty important year for transgender actors in the UK as in January, Russell T Davies’ Cucumber and Banana became the first UK series to feature a trans actor, while last month Rebecca Root played a transgender character in BBC2 sitcom Boy Meets Girl.
Fingers crossed Ireland will follow suit and soon!