Years ago I used to watch the Soaps, but for a decade or more I've had no interest. I watch Eastenders perhaps twice a year and never see the awful Hollyoaks (where the kids seem to have lots of money but will die before they leave college). The longest running of the Soaps is Coronation Street of course - the little street where everyone goes to the pub for lunch every day and every evening and then complain that they have no money.
It was the last of the Soaps to introduce a gay character and the odd time I've seen him, I have cringed at how embarrassing the character is and been annoyed at how little thought the Coronation Street producers have invested into a quality gay storyline.
Actor Anthony Cotton plays Sean Tully and it surprised me that a gay man playing a gay man is happy to act the part of the worst stereotype I've seen on TV. It seems that the writers referred to the TV from the 1970's for their inspiration.
The character is overtly camp, which helps to make him a letter less threatening for the viewing public I suppose. He rarely makes a comment about men or gay lifestyle, you don't see a serious long term relationship develop (like others on The Street), by far the majority of his friends are women and he works on a sewing machine in a clothing factory! The writers of Soaps are often a little lazy with storylines, but at least you can appreciate the care they take when building a character. In this case, I see nothing but corner cutting and the need to use stereotypes to avoid having to do some serious thinking. It's strange, because the Todd gay storyline from a few years back was imaginative and had real drama... without the camp overtones.
There are gay men around who are camp, but none who seem to exhibit all of the worst stereotypes the Corrie individual has. This situation does nothing to help people see gay men and women as just everyday people.
Even gay Eastenders actor John Partridge has said that he doesn't want to come across as a stereotype and although there will be aspects of that I'm sure, it's refreshing to hear his opinion.
I miss the shock and eventual admiration that Queer Of Folk invoked all those years ago. Maybe I'm just showing my age now. Having said all this, John Inman in All You Being Served was so over the top, that it was funny!