Coronation Street is set to air its first ever gay wedding next week, as Billy Mayhew and Paul Foreman get ready to tie the knot.
The beloved couple – who recently enjoyed a joint stag do – are determined to make it down the aisle despite Paul’s recent Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis, a rare condition that affects the brain and nervous system and, unfortunately, has no cure.
In new pictures released by ITV, however, it looks like the couple are putting their troubles behind them and making the most of their big day.
Paul can be seen grinning in a bright pink waistcoat as he sits – after being confined to a wheelchair by his condition – in a high wooden chair during the vows, while in another shot the couple look to be staring lovingly at each other in front of the officiant.
While Paul looks to have opted for a dark grey chequered suit, Billy seems to have gone for the more traditional navy option.
Later on in the day, Paul and Billy look to be teaming up to tackle a huge wedding cake embossed with their initials, "P+B", in a gold love heart.
A musician holding a guitar is also visible in the background, suggesting that the party could devolve into a bit of a boogie.
While the photos certainly make it seem like the pair are having a blast, fans fear there is trouble brewing under the surface.
As Paul's condition has worsened with time, he's struggled to cope and has toyed with the idea of assisted dying.
A diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease means, usually, that a sufferer can only expect to live from between six months and three years – but some sufferers, including physicist Stephen Hawking, have survived much longer.
His partner Billy, however, was horrified by the idea of euthanasia and the pair quarelled, before Peter said that he would put the plan to bed.
However, actor Peter Ash admitted he thinks his character Paul is still “determined to end things on his own terms.”
Peter told The Express that the death of his close pal Shelly had cemented the decision in Paul’s mind.
Shelly also suffered from motor neurone disease and the pair had bonded over their diagnosis.
They struck up a close friendship and Paul would regularly visit Shelly.
However, Shelly’s condition worsened with time and, eventually, she died in her sleep.
“Knowing that Shelly was alone at the end, Paul wants it to be on his own terms,” Peter explained.
However, Peter added that Paul definitely feels “the guilt of hiding something from Billy”, but he believes he has no other option due to how Billy might react.
Daniel Brocklebank, meanwhile, who plays Billy, teased fans when he said that the wedding will be both “beautiful” and a “good balance of comedy and drama.”
He seemed to confirm that the nuptials will be going ahead, as he joked that it will be the first gay wedding on the show after “three failed lesbian weddings.”
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