A black family are joining Coronation Street’s famous cobbles for the first time in the show’s 59-year history.
The Baileys – comprising father Edison, mother Aggie and sons Michael and James – will first appear on screens in early June.
Themes of racism and homophobia are going to be explored by the soap opera, with 19-year-old footballer James coming out as gay in an upcoming storyline.
Although Corrie has cast individual black characters in the past, the Baileys are the first black family to be brought in together.
Asked why this has not happened sooner, producer Iain MacLeod said: “Short answer – I don’t really know.
“Manchester has a large proportion of black residents so it did feel sort of overdue we did this and represented modern Manchester a bit more accurately.”
Edison Bailey is played by Trevor Michael Georges, who has starred in Holby City and Noughts & Crosses in the past.
Michael is played by CBeebies House presenter Ryan Russell, while James is played by musical theatre star Nathan Graham.
Lorna Laidlaw, who starred in Doctors for eight years, will play Aggie – with Corrie producers revealing she is set to clash with the Barlows next door.
MacLeod said: “They do, in a fairly British way, rub the neighbours up the wrong way a little bit when they arrive and then Aggie takes offence at something one of her neighbours says and it becomes a little bit of a tit-for-tat war.
“It becomes a noise war, essentially. At that point of the proceedings, Edison and Ken come back from where they’ve been and open their front doors.
“Both men shut the doors and say – shall we go to the pub and leave them to it?”
A fifth member of the Bailey family will join the street at a later stage, as their daughter Diana is yet to be cast by producers.
Although the family have bought their house from long-standing character Norris, played by Malcolm Hebden, the show’s producers have stressed that he will still feature on Weatherfield’s cobbles in future.
MacLeod added: “The North West and Great Britain as a whole is a big melting pot of people from different backgrounds and ethnicities and the more representative we can make Corrie of Manchester and Britain the better really.
“It was a no-brainer, but I mean, as with anything on Coronation Street, it was the characters that came first and [the Baileys] were just instantly likeable.”