Manchester-set ITV soap Coronation Street will welcome a Muslim family to the much-loved street the first time in the program’s 53-year history.
The new characters will be relatives of Kal Nazir, a former soldier played by Indian-Irish actor Jimi Mistry, who joined the show in November.
Producers have admitted it was “bizarre” that the long-running soap has never featured a Muslim family, particularly given that nearly a fifth of residents in Manchester are Muslim.
Show bosses say they have consulted experts over ‘all aspects of their lifestyle, culture and religion’ in a bid to ensure that the family accurately reflects the experience of Muslims in Manchester.
Kal first appeared in the Street as a personal trainer and his new family will include his mother, father and two children.
41-year-old Mr Mistry, who started his career acting in EastEnders before finding fame as a star of 1999 film East Is East.
In 2010 he competed on Strictly Come Dancing, and later became engaged to his dance partner Flavia Cacace.
Mr Mistry is the son of an Indian father and an Irish mother, and was brought up as a Roman Catholic.