Coronation Street: Former star Amanda Barrie says coming out as bisexual in the 1980s would have ended role

Former Coronation Street star Amanda Barrie believes she would have been fired from the ITV show if she’d come out as bisexual in the 1980s.

The 86-year-old actor was discussing her run on the famous British soap opera during a recent episode of the all-things-Corrie podcast Conversation Street.

Barrie, who played straight-talking cafe worker Alma Halliwell on the long-running soap until 2001, told the Conversation Street host that she was forced to keep her sexuality a secret while she was associated with the series.

At the time, Barrie was married to theatre director Robin Hunter. The pair separated in the mid-1980s but never formally divorced.

Barrie came out as bisexual in 2003 in her autobiography It’s Not A Rehearsal, and married her long-term partner Hilary Bonner in 2014.

Barrie said there were incessant rumours about her sexual identity during the time that she was working on Coronation Street, despite her marriage to Hunter.

She continued: “I spent a fortune on solicitors because believe me if that had happened to me, at that time, they would not have kept me in Coronation Street and I will stand by that.”

She added that certain “nameless” people would have had a problem “working with her” if she had publicly embraced her sexual identity at the time.

Multiple gay characters have been introduced on Coronation Street since Barrie’s departure, including Todd Grimshaw (played by Bruno Langley), Sean Tully (Antony Cotton) and the show’s first lesbian character Sophie Webster (portrayed by Brooke Vincent).

Addressing the introduction of new LGBTQ+ characters on the show, Barrie said: “How many are there? Why didn’t they all come out when I was there? I could have had so many hooks if they’d made me come out [on-screen].”

Barrie portrayed Alma for two decades until her character was written off in a cervical cancer storyline.