kicks off a new romance storyline for Sean Tully next week as he strikes up a bond with new character Billy.
Billy (Daniel Brocklebank) is introduced when he catches Sean's eye on a night out and introduces himself as the new vicar at St Mary's Church.
Smitten Sean is delighted when he exchanges numbers with Billy, marking the beginning of a new relationship for the Weatherfield barman.
Here, Antony Cotton - who plays Sean - offers his thoughts on whether his character is about to find ultimate happiness.Why has Sean always been so unlucky in love?
"When I first came into the show, a lot of the old-school writers that are no longer here had never written a gay character. At that time, Raquel had just gone so they basically wrote Sean as Raquel. Hilda and Raquel are my favourite ever Corrie characters, and one of the reasons that I've always loved Raquel is that she was unlucky in love. Even when she was in the gutter battered and bruised, she was always looking up at the stars thinking that the next one was around the corner.
"I thought that was an interesting way to play Sean, so he's always unlucky in love because Raquel was, is the short answer! That's just the way it worked out - but I like playing that."Is it interesting to play the ups and downs of Sean's love life?
"I think it's interesting, and the writers want to write drama. They want to put people with protagonists and for things to happen. Because Sean is always unlucky in love, there's always another story to do - along with him being at the factory, at The Rovers and at Eileen's house.
"I've been lucky that I've always been in the thick of the action, even when I've not had a story. I've spent a year without any kind of significant story, but I've always been in the show. That's all I'm interested in, really - being in the show. That's because storylines come and go. We have crashes and we have murders, but ultimately those characters that are the protagonists end up going, because their story comes to an end."How is Billy introduced?
"We organise an outing. It's the Underworld girls and Jason is supposed to come with Todd. Things happen with Todd and then Jason pulls out, Julie pulls out and everybody ends up not going! But the gag of the thing is that all the way through, Sinead keeps saying, 'Well I'm still coming!'
"Sean and Sinead go on this night out and she has quite an extraordinary dance repertoire in this bar. She spots Billy walk in and Sean presumes he's meeting someone, but Sinead encourages him to go over. Sinead gets drunk and does very, very curious dancing, which made me laugh the whole day! Sean and Billy meet, they swap numbers and that's that."
Is the attraction instant between them?
Sean's luck changes when he meets the new vicar
"Yeah, they just chat and then Billy makes the revelation that he's a vicar. Sean is interested in Billy and it's reciprocated, but then he says, 'I can't because I've got church tomorrow'. He explains that he's leading the congregation and then Sinead is like, 'You're a vicar?!' Sinead says awkward and embarrassing things like, 'Are you allowed to drink? Are you allowed to have a boyfriend?'
"All of that plays out and Sean is mortified by Sinead! She's also still doing all of this ridiculous dancing while she's asking him! But the attraction is from the get-go, and the first thing we do beyond that is go to Nick's Bistro for a dinner date."How does Sean feel about Billy being a vicar?
"We've not really filmed any of that yet. I'm not religious in any shape or form, so for me the image of a vicar was always what you saw on telly with comedy teeth in. He's not that kind of vicar by the way - he's a very serious character. We've not really got to the point yet where we start to explore that side of the storyline."But it seems that Sean isn't put off by it.
"No. We learn that Billy is the vicar at Emily's church. She's initially thrilled that Billy has got a friend to show him around the area. She's pleased that the new vicar, who she's been helping to settle in, has got a friend in Sean. He tells us that he's popular with the older parishioners like Emily. Then obviously she discovers that he's a homosexual of the parish."Is Sean reluctant to get carried away after being unlucky in love in the past?
"Sean always thinks he's not good enough. Even when they first meet, Sean thinks he's not good enough and Billy won't be interested in him because he's probably meeting somebody else.
"You see that again at Beth's wedding, where they've got me dressed up in the most extraordinary outfit I've ever worn on television! I'm dressed up as George Michael, Wham! era, and in the tiniest tennis shorts. Billy doesn't turn up and Sean thinks he's just decided not to turn up, but he does arrive in the end and he's come dressed as Andrew Ridgeley!"
Will the Grimshaws support Sean's new romance?
© Rex Features / McPix Ltd
Beth's wedding scenes will air in a few weeks' time
"I think it'll get Sean out of their hair! We've not played it yet, but hopefully this story is going to go on for six months or a year. I would imagine that the Grimshaws are going to be nothing but supportive of Sean, because that's the way they've always been.
"Todd is different. I'm sure Todd will try to scupper something and if there is going to be some kind of animosity, it's probably going to come from him. I would imagine they'll get some mileage out of him winding Billy up. That's what he did with Marcus, that's what he's done with Jason, and that's what he's done with Tony. He's just an obnoxious little twerp at the moment!
"And then of course, Sarah-Louise is coming back
. The Grimshaws have a history with Gail and Eileen, so that'll probably be reignited. I imagine we'll have a good beefy year of Grimshaw-based stuff, which is very, very exciting. From a purely selfish point of view, that means working with all my favourite people, so I'm looking forward to it."Would you like Sean to find his Mr Right - whether that's Billy or somebody else?
"I do feel a bit torn. For me from a personal point of view, I think it's lovely that a 15 or 16-year-old boy who's sitting down to watch Coronation Street
with his mum and dad and might be thinking about coming out to his parents, can see a positive, fun character.
"Sean has never apologised for who he is in the show and never, ever will. So for me that's an incredibly powerful thing - for a young person to see a gay character who makes no apologies, is accepted by everybody and is loved by everybody. It makes people see that actually that person does exist and maybe it could be them.
"I think that would be quite special - that people saw a character in a happy, successful relationship that was ongoing. From a drama point of view, it's better that they have a row every now and again, so who knows what comes from that?
"I'm torn about that and we've only done a few scenes, so we've just got to see whether the two characters work together. We soon find that out in this show. If something works, it works, and if something doesn't, it doesn't and there's no point pretending otherwise. I'm hoping that it will work to a degree!"Read more Coronation Street spoilers and newsCoronation Street airs Billy's first scenes on Friday, December 5.