Coronation Street casts first Down's syndrome actor Liam Bairstow

The announcement follows a guest appearance from disabled actor Peter Mitchell in the ITV soap earlier this year

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The Independent Culture

Coronation Street has cast an actor with Down’s syndrome for the first time in the soap’s 55 year history.

Liam Bairstow, 26, has been cast in the role of Cathy Matthews’ nephew Alex and will tread the cobbles later this year.

Producer Stuart Blackburn said the casting decision was not “some politically correct thing” and said Bairstow has “a brilliant sense of timing”.

Bairstown was recruited following ITV’s "Breaking Through Talent" disability workshop.

“We ran a workshop for actors with disabilities. We recognise that they get so few auditions and we found Liam was just brilliant,” Blackburn said.

“This isn’t some politically correct thing. We’ve actually discovered a really great actor with a lovely sense of timing and the cast have been loving working with him.”

Bairstow has previously acted with disability theatre company Mind the Gap, which he joined in 2009.

In an interview for the theatre group’s website, he said he had always wanted to act on TV, choosing Emmerdale as his soap of choice rather than Coronation Street.

 

Bairstow’s casting follows a guest appearance from disabled actor Peter Mitchell in Coronation Street in April.

EastEnders also cast disabled actress Lisa Hammond to play mouthy market trader Donna Yates last year.

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