Long-running Australian soap Home and Away will this week introduce its first gay character in nine years.
Ty, played by Western Australian actor Darius Williams, will arrive in Summer Bay this week. The character will be fostered by John and Marilyn, and he’ll become friends with fellow high school student Raffy.
Williams recently took to Instagram to explain that he’d had to keep the role under wraps.
“After months of hard work and secrecy, I can announce that I will be on Home and Away as of May 7,” he said.
“To all those that supported me along the way and kept this secret hidden since last October, thank you.
“To all those that I may have had to tell a few cheeky lies to, I’m sorry. I hope you’re all there to tune in when I hit the Bay [on] Monday.”
But Darius’ stay in the Bay is expected to be brief, with the actor reportedly only signing on for a six-week stint on the show.
Home and Away has featured both male and female gay characters before, but hasn’t featured a same-sex romance since 2009.
Police officer Charlie Buckton had a brief relationship with guest character Joey Collins that year, but the couple’s scenes prompted conservatives to complain to the network about the storyline.
Rival soap Neighbours has included several gay regulars in its cast in recent years, and earlier this year featured its first same-sex wedding proposal, between couple Aaron and David.
After Months of Hard Work and Secrecy. I can announce I will be on @homeandaway as of May 7th🎉🎉 To all those that supported me along the way and kept this secret hidden since last October, thank you. To all those that I may have had to tell a few cheeky lies to, I'm sorry😁 I hope you're all there to tune in when I hit the Bay next Monday🏖️ Love you all♥️