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article imageDanny Dyer responds to homophobic tweets

By Mathew Wace Peck     Jan 6, 2014 in Entertainment
Danny Dyer has taken to Twitter to respond to homophobic comments directed at him and fellow actor Sam Strike, following a gay story-line affecting their characters in a BBC soap opera.
Dyer and Strike play father and son, Mick and Johnny Carter, in EastEnders, their family — which also includes Mick’s wife Linda (Kellie Bright) and daughter Nancy (Maddy Hill) — having joined the BBC’s flagship soap on Christmas Day, to take on the running of the Queen Vic pub.
Over the Christmas/New Year, one of the storylines has involved the 17-year-old Johnny not being out to his parents about his sexuality, although his sister knows.
Earlier in the week, the BBC had received a number of complaints following a scene in which Johnny was seen by his aunt (Linda Henry) kissing another man — Danny Pennant, played by Gary Lucy.
Those complaints led to swift responses from two of the show’s writers, Pete Lawson and Daran Little. Via Twitter, Lawson wrote, “2014, and gay teens kissing on a soap still draws complaints. Makes me even prouder to have written that ep.”
Meanwhile, Little — who was for many years a writer for ITV’s rival soap opera Coronation Street — said, “10 years ago Coronation Street had complaints when I wrote Todd kissing Nick... now complaints about EastEnders gay kiss... no progress.”
Gay kisses
Then, referring to another soap opera — Channel Four’s Hollyoaks — Little then added, “I think it’s encouraging that Hollyoaks gay kisses don’t get complaints, cos its viewers are young and accepting.”
Elsewhere, the BBC issued a statement, which read, “We approach our portrayal of homosexual relationships in exactly the same way as we do heterosexual relationships; ensuring depictions of affection or sexuality between couples are suitable for pre-watershed viewing.”
But it was how the storyline developed towards the end of the week that really brought out the anti-gay crowd.
On Thursday, during a heated family argument, the episode ended with Nancy blurting out that her brother was gay. Friday’s episode then picked up the scene, with Nancy backtracking from her outburst, claiming that she had lied. However, later, Johnny is seen breaking down in his father’s arms when he finally tells Mick the truth.
To the surprise of Johnny and viewers alike, Mick — who, hitherto assumed his son to be as straight as he was — is shown comforting his son; and it’s this that led to the torrent of online abuse directed at Dyer.
Dyer — who is known for his film and television tough-guy, straight roles and presenting — he also presented Virgin’s Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men (2008) — responded forthrightly (see embedded tweet at the top of this story): “Here's a little message for some of the homophobic pricks who are tweeting me........happy new year.”
To the many positive tweets the 36-year-old received, however, he wrote, “Thank u all so much for the love…overwhelming..hope the show tonight gives some people the confidence to be true to themselves & be happy.”
At the weekend, certain sections of the British tabloid press claimed falsely that Dyer had been given a dressing down by the BBC over his Twitter-published response.
Sam Strike as Johnny Carter (EastEnders)
Sam Strike as Johnny Carter (EastEnders)
However, as reported by Digital Spy, the corporation has been quick to dismiss the claims as nonsense. “There’s no truth in the story that Danny will be getting a dressing down from bosses,’ a spokesperson for EastEnders said.
Strike also took to Twitter to thank those who had praised the storyline involving him. “Thanks for the kind words, couldn’t have imagined x,” he wrote. The 17-year-old also retweeted a post from another young lad who had been encouraged to come out to his own parents after watching the soap: “@SamStrike had to make a twitter to say this but your episode on eastenders helped me come to my parents on the same night. Thank you.”
Little, meanwhile, was also encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response to the coming-out storyline. “guys, i’m blown away by your response to tonight’s #EastEnders ... I’ve had over 1,000 tweets in 15 mins... I'm so glad it touched you xx,” he wrote.
More about Danny Dyer, Sam Strike, Eastenders, BBC, Daran little
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