For the first time ever in its 55-year history, Coronation Street has signed up an actor with Down's syndrome. Liam Bairstow, who has already starting filming, will join the popular ITV show as Alex.
A photo of the rising star was shared on Twitter, alongside the caption: "Cathy's nephew Alex to be played by Liam Bairstow who was cast during ITV's #breakingthroughtalent #CorriePressDay."
Liam, 26, was scouted during a recent workshop held for actors with disabilities. He was approached by show bosses who asked if he wanted to come on board.
Liam Bairstow was recruited after taking part in a workshop for actors with disabilities
"We ran a workshop called Breaking Through a while ago, which was for actors with disabilities," said producer Stuart Blackburn. "It was recognising that they get so few auditions, and actually we found a young guy there called Liam Bairstow, an actor with Down's syndrome.
"He's going to be coming in as Cathy's nephew. It's not some politically correct thing. We actually found there a really great actor with a wonderful sense of timing. The cast have really enjoyed working with him."
Liam is a member of the Mind the Gap theatre group based in Bradford. The organisation is England's largest learning disability theatre company, whose vision is to create equal opportunities for performers in the arts sector.
The rising star was described as "a really great actor with a wonderful sense of timing"
The theatre also shared their excitement on Twitter, writing: "MTG Resident Artist Liam Bairstow has landed himself a part on Coronation Street! He'll be on your screen in Sept!"
They followed it up with another post: "Did you see, did you see?! Liam is going to be a new named character on #Corrie!"
Last year Liam gave an interview with Mind the Gap and revealed that he would, one day, like to star in a soap.
"I could never imagine leaving Mind the Gap, but if I did I would love to be on TV," he said. "I remember when ITV's Katherine Kelly visited Mind the Gap to congratulate our director Tim on the success of the company so I would love to be on ITV, maybe playing a Dingle in Emmerdale!"