In addition to Coronation Street and EastEnders a third British soap has now announced plans to include a gay marriage in a future storyline. ITV's Emmerdale intends to go one better by running a storyline where two gay sheepdogs fall in love and marry. When I spoke to the soap's producer Richard Head yesterday to ask him why Emmerdale had taken the decision to cover such a controversial subject he justified it by explaining,
"This is 2011, not 1911. Everyone knows animals have been entering into gay relationships for ages, and not just on farms. The fact that Emmerdale does have a countryside setting - let's not forget it used to be called Emmerdale Farm - does I feel make it appropriate for us to cover this taboo subject rather than the more city focussed soaps of Coronation Street and EastEnders. In fact we did consider running a gay marriage between two different farm animals, a bull and a rooster, but we decided it would be too controversial for our viewers given it's early evening slot, though if the gay sheepdogs marriage receives the positive response we believe it will then certainly we might run with a mixed animal species gay marriage at some later time. We do of course realize the sensitive nature of this subject. I can assure the public that Emmerdale's episodes dealing with the gay sheepdogs wedding will not be treated as a joke. That would rightly offend gay animals all over Britain. It is a subject of great social concern and it needs to be treated seriously and professionally."
Mr Head added that a decision was still to be made on whether an hour long special episode would be filmed showing the happy couple on honeymoon.