Coronation Street star Bhavna Limbachia has opened up about playing the soaps first queer Muslim character.
In recent months, viewers have seen Bhavna Limbachia’s Coronation Street character Rana Haweb marry chef Zeedan Nazir (played by Qasim Akhtar) despite secretly struggling with her sexuality and having an affair with lesbian Kate Connor, played by Faye Brookes.
In a recent interview, Limbachia said that her character needs to come-out as she “owes” it those in a similar position.
“There are so many people who don’t feel they are able to come out and hopefully this will encourage conversations in households within every community and let some people feel able to be honest about who they are.”
The actress also said that filming the emotional storyline had taken a toll on her, added:
“There were times when I was filming scenes, like 12 hours of sobbing. Then when the director said cut I literally had to run backstage and let out a really big cry, to the point where I was nearly sick because I couldn’t stop. You have to go there and it’s heartbreaking. Do you know what? I thought, ‘We’re two people in love, let’s just go for it’. And we did!”
Meanwhile, Brookes is hopeful that the characters will one day get married.
“I felt like what we were doing was groundbreaking. We broke that barrier, just for a split second. We did it for the sake of our characters and for anyone out there who is feeling the exact same way.
My chemistry with Bhavna is completely natural. It has to be that I’m OK to touch her and she doesn’t feel awkward if we have to hold a kiss or hold hands. We just bite the bullet. It’s a good job she’s so beautiful!”
We’re both very in touch with our feminine side. You don’t need to be gay or straight to feel that. It’s how you feel around that one person.
I want to represent, from a personal perspective, that love is love and everybody should be accepted for who they are, no matter what.”
The soap, which has been running since 1960, has featured a number of LGBT storylines over the years.