Poisoning, alcoholism and illicit sex... the five most controversial TV vicar storylines

A gay vicar is to be introduced to the cast of Coronation Street, but it's not the first time a similar storyline has been run by a primetime TV soap opera.

Daniel Brocklebank is set to star in the ITV drama as the new vicar of St Mary's, a local church in the fictional town of Weatherfield, and the love interest of barman Sean Tully.

A statement from the producers of Coronation Street say the two will first meet on a night out, and viewers watch the struggle play out as Brocklebank's character, Rev Billy, attempts to juggle a relationship alongside his vocation.

"Billy is a great guy who is sincere about his feelings for Sean but his first love is and always will be God and the church," producer Stuart Blackburn said.

"We will be exploring this very modern relationship in the coming months and are delighted to have Daniel on board to play Billy."

However, members of the clergy have long been caught up in complicated and controversial TV storylines. Here's our pick of some of the most memorable:

Hollyoaks: Father Kieron Hobbs

Hollyoaks ran a similar storyline to Brocklebank's in 2008, which saw Father Kieron Hobbs, a Catholic priest, enter into a secret gay relationship with the much-loved John Paul McQueen. It didn't end well for Hobbs, though – he was eventually poisoned to death.


Eastenders: Pastor Lucas Johnson

Played by Don Gilet, Pastor Lucas was first introduced to Albert Square as a religious man with devout convictions. His true colours were soon revealed, however, when he committed several murders and then strangled and held his wife prisoner after she refused to enter into a forced baptism.

When he was eventually discovered, Johnson was shown scratching religious messages into the walls of his prison cell, and writing "sorry" in his own blood.


Home and Away: Rev Elijah Johnson

A complicated character, Elijah looked more like a rugby player than a traditional clergyman, and was became embroiled in a love affair with Leah. He later left for missionary work in Africa, and returned to Summer Bay with a wife whom he married simply so she could gain access to medical help for her son. Elijah eventually had a crisis of faith, became an alcoholic and left the church.


90210: Caleb Walsh

A seminary student training to be a Catholic priest, Caleb fell for Annie and the two consummated their relationship. Consumed by guilt, he quit his vocation, but Annie convinced him that his faith was more important than anything else.

The Archers: Rev Alan Franks

Often described as somewhat eccentric, Rev Franks caused waves in Ambridge when he began a relationship with Usha Gupta, a Hindu. They married on the radio soap in 2008, after winning the support of Usha's family.