EastEnders is preparing to make history by becoming the first British soap to feature a transgender actor playing a transgender character. Riley Carter Millington will be joining the cast of the hit BBC show as Kyle later this autumn. His mysterious character is expected to arrive in Albert Square for a brief stint in October before returning permanently at the end of the year.
The 21-year-old said of his first television role: "I am extremely excited to be joining EastEnders. I can honestly say that I have now fulfilled my two biggest dreams – to be living my life as a man and to be an actor. I cannot wait to really get stuck in with filming and I look forward to seeing what is in store for my character."
Executive producer Dominic Treadwell- Collins, who is behind the ground-breaking storyline, which was announced earlier in 2015, handpicked Millington for the coveted role after scores of transgender actors auditioned for the job.
He said: "From Mark Fowler's HIV to Colin and Barry's first gay kiss, EastEnders has always led the way in changing audience's perceptions about 'difference' – and ultimately making the world a better place.
"Alex Lamb and his story team have worked with Riley to create an EastEnders character who is fresh and relatable – but also comes with his own stock of secrets and is going to be thrown right into one of our biggest stories for the end of the year. I hope that the audience will take Riley and his character to their hearts as quickly as everyone here at EastEnders has done."
Producers sat in on acting workshops to prepare for the show's new addition and ensure they had the best person for the job before developing the character. "The people we met showed us a strength and bravery that took our breath away – and to go through as much as they have while maintaining humour and a positive view on the world is testament to what special people we met."