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Coronation Street star Antony Cottons life – famous mum, love life and backlash

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    Antony Cotton MBE has become a staple on Coronation Street, having first joined the soap all the way back in 2003.

    Since then, Cotton's character Sean has been filled with a bubbly personality, endearing himself to the nation with his positive mindset. However, Sean's time on the cobbles has been less than smooth, having been made homeless and losing his son for years.

    But behind the camera, Antony Cotton has had an illustrious career that spans decades – all the while keeping to true to his calm Mancunian self. His career highlights include a number of high profile cameos, as well as prominence on stage and screen.

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    Nowadays, Antony is one of the most recognisable faces on British TV. So, as Antony celebrates 20 years of being in Weatherfield, Daily Star looks into his life and career.

    Famous family

    Antony Cotton was born on August 5, 1975 in the Mancunian suburb of Bury. He is the son of actress Enid Dunn, who herself has had a strong career in the acting profession.

    It was not long before Antony was following in his mother's footsteps, training at the world-renowned Oldham Theatre Workshop as he grew up. It was during this time that he realised he was gay and soon became immediately involved in charity work for LGBTQ+ foundations including the Terrence Higgins Trust.

    During his adolescence, his mum Enid appeared on the cobbles herself. She has been on the show a total of four times in her career, with her most recent role coming in 2014.

    Whilst on the show, she played a variety of different characters, including the aunt of legendary Dennis Stringer. Her most recent stint was playing the role of minor character Maureen Rothwell, who was the victim of an attempted mugging on the ITV soap.

    Other TV shows

    Antony's first roles were relatively minor as he played minor characters throughout the 1990s. But his big break came in 1999, when he played the role of Alexander Perry in the pioneering gay drama Queer as Folk.

    Throughout the show, Antony was praised for his portrayal of true gay relationships, which at the time had not been shown. It was thanks to this stint that Cotton was able to bag roles on other hit shows including The Bill and Absolutely Fabulous.

    His career continued to soar once he joined the ITV soap playing barman and factory worker Sean Tully in 2003. But despite his tenure on the show, he was also able to dust off his hosting skills as he landed his own chat show in 2007 – which lasted for 25 episodes.

    As well as dramas, Antony has been a regular on ITV competitive shows, having entered the I'm A Celebrity jungle in 2011 – where he finished in fourth place. He also competed in Dancing On Ice in 2018, where he became the sixth celebrity to be eliminated.

    Personal wins

    48-year-old Cotton might have been primarily on Corrie, but throughout his career he has been recognised for his acting skills. In 2005, Antony landed himself a National Television Award for the Best Newcomer.

    Since then, Antony regularly cleans up at the Inside Soap Awards, having won gongs for being the best newcomer, as well as the funniest character. In 2022, Antony's services to acting and charity for military personnel were rewarded when he was given an MBE.


    Antony now lives happily in Manchester together with his partner Peter Eccleston, who works as a prop buyer. The pair met on the set of Coronation Street, and have been happily loved up since they locked eyes on each other in 2005.

    Speaking about his relationship, Antony opened up to Inside Soap magazine in 2017, saying the pair work well together. "We are an incredible team and Peter brings out my best side. He is always looking out for me and protecting me when we're out, while I look after him at home," he said.

    Overcoming critics

    Despite Antony's championing for gay rights, Cotton has also faced criticism for his 'camp' portrayal of his Corrie character Sean. In 20214, Antony opened up on how the LGBTQ+ community continued to berate him for his character, saying he received years of abuse from inside the community itself.

    "I get a lot of stick from people who say, and these are people who are 21 years old, 'You've put the gay cause back 21 years,'" he said in an interview with The Independent. "Or they say 'you're a disgrace to this village'. You'd be surprised how many kids say that to me."

    But Antony defended his character's mannerisms, saying that he was welcomed to Weatherfield with open arms, saying that other should do the same. He also hit out at critics saying his character was a stereotype, quipping: "The fact he's never had to explain himself makes him the most political gay character in soap."

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    • Coronation Street
    • Dancing On Ice
    • ITV

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