EastEnders is to become the first UK television soap to have a transgender actor playing a transgender character in a continuing role.

21-year-old Riley Carter Millington from Stretford in Greater Manchester has been cast as Kyle. It will be 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,” he said.

Executive producer, Dominic Treadwell-Collins made an announcement earlier this year that he was going to create a transgender character and wanted to have a transgender actor to play the part.

The production team worked alongside groups within the transgender community and undertook workshops. It was here they found Carter Millington and started to develop the role of Kyle.

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“I’ve sat in many acting workshops over the years with our Casting Executive Julia Crampsie and her team, but never have we been so moved by the incredible life stories and wealth of talent that we experienced over our several weeks of workshops with transgender actors. 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,” explained Treadwell-Collins.

“In Riley, we have found not just a talented actor but also an inspirational young man whose warmth immediately comes through the screen. And this isn’t about tokenism. 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.”

Kyle will first appear briefly in the soap later this month and then return permanently at the end of the year.