ITV Pridecast with Dolly-Rose Campbell | From the cobbles of Coronation Street to championing bisexual awareness
As Coronation Street’s Gemma Winter-Brown, it would be an understatement to say the last nine years have been a whirlwind for Dolly-Rose Campbell. She is the latest guest on the ITV Pridecast and discusses her role on the soap and also being bisexual and the importance of bi-visibility.
Arriving in the soap in 2014 for an initial six episodes, Dolly-Rose introduced us to the boisterous bundle of energy that is of course Gemma. As a friend of Kylie Platt, Gemma started life on the nation’s favourite street by bringing turmoil to the door of the Platt family, alongside cunning drug-dealer Callum Logan.
Despite an abrupt arrival into Weatherfield, over time the rowdy and rather unruly Gemma became a regular fixture, making friends with the most unlikely characters like Corrie legends Rita Tanner and Norris Cole. Under their wing, Gemma finds herself distancing herself from the troublesome Eccleston estate, becoming a firm favourite on the cobbles of Coronation Street.
As time goes on, Gemma starts to work alongside Chesney Brown at the kebab shop, Prima Doner. After jumping from one bad relationship to another, both then eventually end up together and to their shock - and that of the nation - Gemma falls pregnant with quadruplets. Not only does that create soap history, writers decide that one of the babies will be deaf, allowing both Gemma, and in turn Dolly-Rose, to learn sign language and demonstrate the importance of having this kind of representation on the show.
Earlier this year, Dolly-Rose once again made Corrie history by tying the knot with Chesney, wearing a two-metre wide orange dress that even had a seven-metre long train. And not only that, Gemma lit up the aisle with fairy lights attached to her dress. Dolly-Rose herself played an integral part in the dress’ design, wanting something befitting of Gemma’s flamboyant character. And she knew just how that could be achieved. She convinced the writers to allow Manchester Drag Queen, Liquorice Black, to design and make the outrageous but very beautiful gown, something which is now on display at the Coronation Street Exhibition museum, for all to see.
For Dolly-Rose, it was important to have a Drag Queen create such an iconic garment in order to showcase the artistry and talent of many in the LGBTQ+ community. Creating that space for visibility is incredibly important to Dolly-Rose and it’s something she’s been keen to do when raising awareness about bisexuality.
She says she knew early on in life that she was bisexual and it was actually to her surprise that everyone else wasn’t. For her, celebrations and recognition around bi-visibility is crucial if perceptions around bisexuality are to be changed and accepted in society. Joining Liam to co-host this episode is Aimée Metcalf, who works as a Junior Creative on Brand Licensing at ITV.
If you would like further resources on being bi or how you can be an ally to the bi community, you can visit the following pages:
LGBT Foundation - LGBT Foundation provides a wide range of services to support the LGBTQ+ community. This page will take you to details about their bi programme.
Stonewall - a leading campaign charity for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. Click on the link to visit their bi visibility hub.
Biphoria - the UK's longest-running bi organisation, with monthly online and in-person meet ups.