Neighbours introduces first gay character

Neighbours is to get its first regular gay character.

The character Chris Pappas, played by 20 year old actor James Mason will come out in an episode soon to screen in Australia.

Neighbours executive producer Susan Bower told the Herald Sun that the coming-out storyline was a direct result of viewer feedback via online fan forums.

Ms Bower said lesbian romances had featured on Australian TV shows before, but love scenes between men are still fairly taboo on Australian dramas.

She said the Melbourne based soap had received criticism storylines based around teen pregnancy and surrogacy, so teen homosexuality was sure to come under fire, too.

“I do believe homophobia is still alive and well, and I have no doubt that we will get complaints about it,” she said.

The episode will screen in a few weeks in New Zealand.

Neighbours screens on TV2 in New Zealand at 6PM every weeknight, repeating the following day at 2.30pm.

– Dan News

Former Nine Network journalist dies in a skiing accident

Former Nine Network journalist Michael Meagher has died in a skiing accident.

Meagher was on a skiing holiday in the Snowy Mountains when he hit the tree. Police say he died at the scene a short time later.

His work included reporting for Nine’s Wide World of Sports and “Business Sunday” as well as numerous print publications.

Most recently he had been working for CPR, as an adviser on corporate communications.

Mr Meagher was 55.

– Dan News

Willy de Wit and Dean Butler depart Hauraki breakfast

Radio Hauraki today confirmed the departure of Willy de Wit and Dean Butler from the breakfast show.

“It is genuinely very tough to say goodbye to two outstanding, professional broadcasters. We wish Willy and Dean all the best in their future pursuits and thank them for their outstanding contribution to the station”, said Radio Hauraki programme director Mike Regal.

“Willy and Dean have put their heart and soul into what they have been doing for us for over twelve years”.

“We need to take the show in a new direction for 2011 to meet the changing needs of our listeners. We’ll be announcing the new breakfast line-up within the next few weeks”.

“Willy and Dean’s final show will be Wednesday August 11th.

Until the new show is in place Dean Young will continue in the interim as a solo host.

– The Radio Network