Popular British soap opera EastEnders will introduce a new bisexual character in the coming weeks, according to a tweet from series story editor, Ben Wadey.
The BBC One soap, first aired in 1985, has taken major steps in the past year to increase representation within the show’s cast and characters in the face of declining viewership.
Taking to Twitter, Wadey posted a cryptic tweet teasing fans about what changes are set for the soap as the end of the year approaches and a new season begins.
“Been great to see all the positive reaction to LGBTQ+ representation on EastEnders recently, and excited for us to have a new B in the show soon,” he wrote.
Followers were quick to draw the link between ‘B’ and bisexual, assuming it meant a brand-new queer character could be making their way east.
“Thank you so much for showing the importance of the LGBTQ+, it really shows that EastEnders is a very respectful soap,” one follower replied.
Another replied: “FINALLY! That’s great news! #EastEnders #Bisexual #BisexualsDeserveRepresentation”
EastEnders has received heavy criticism in the past for its lack of dimensional representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the fictional east London borough of Walford, with only two characters on the show, Sonia and Tina, shown to be part of the community.
However, since the appointment of the show’s current executive producer Kate Oates in 2018, the show’s queer representation has blossomed due to her pledge to increase the show’s diversity.
While representations of gay and lesbian people is becoming increasingly common throughout mainstream film and television, diverse and dimensional bisexual representation is still scarce – though this exclusion is also starting to change.
The highly-anticipated debut season of Drag Race UK, set to air on BBC Three in October, will also include bisexual representation with 20-year-old Wiltshire performer, Scaredy Kat.
Describing herself in an interview with BBC Three as “cute, pink, and scared – like a nervous flamingo” – she revealed that she’s bisexual and wants to subvert expectations of contemporary drag performers.
“I came up with my drag name because I’m just a bit of a pussy really,” Scaredy Kat told BBC Three during the UK cast announcements.
“I’m not gay, you don’t have to be the stereotypical thing that you expect drag queens to be,” Scaredy further explained to Gay Times.
“I think some people will love it and I think some people will hate it, and some people won’t care. I feel like there will be varied reactions.
“I just want to show that you can be comfortable in your femininity and artistic creativity.”
Popular Australian soap opera Neighbours has also started showing a wider array of queer identities after series-regular Chloe Brennan (played by Rose Pengilly) kissed her close friend Elly Conway (Jodi Anasta) in an episode aired late last year.
“There have been mentions here and there since she arrived,” Pengilly told Radio Times last year.
“The writers and I didn’t want to let it be exploitative or make Chloe’s sexual orientation be the defining aspect of her personality. It’s one aspect of who she is.”