A man with Down syndrome was recently signed into ITV by producers of Coronation Street. Twenty-six-year-old Liam Bairstrow‘s talent was discovered during a disability workshop.
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Bairstow will join the cast later this year as Alex, the nephew of Roy Cropper’s new love interest Cathy Matthews. He was former part of the Mind the Gap theater group and was delighted to join ITV.
“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!”
The news of the latest cast member was announced by ITV during a Corrie Press Day through Twitter. “Cathy’s nephew Alex to be played by Liam Bairstow who was cast during ITV’s #breakingthroughtalent #CorriePressDay,” the account revealed.
When Bairstow was discovered during the disability workshop, he has already been filming episodes for the long-running soap. Producer Stuart Blackburn confirmed the signing.
“We ran a workshop called Breaking Through a while ago, which was for actors with disabilities,” he said. ”It was recognising that they get so few auditions, and actually we found a young guy there called Liam Bairstow, an actor with Down 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 been really enjoying working with him.”
Thousands of fans have expressed their approval on Twitter for ITV’s “exciting new approach to casting” and for adding “diversity” to the show.
Aside from Bairstow, another new cast member to join the ITV soap is Phoenix Nights actor Ted Robbins. He will join the soap as Brendan, the love interest of Mary.