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'Neighbours' star James Mason 'doesn't mind playing gay character'

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Chris Pappas

© Channel 5

Neighbours star James Mason has revealed that he is happy playing a gay character.

The Australian actor, who portrays Chris Pappas in the soap, said that he saw "potential" in the character from the moment he got the part.

Mason told The Daily Telegraph: "I really liked the character from the beginning and could see there was huge potential for him. I have a friend who went through what Chris did when he came out, so it's really important to me that there is realism to the stories.

"The good thing about Chris is that he is an ordinary person who is a mechanic and happens to be gay."

In a recent storyline, Chris was threatened by homophobic Warren Burrell and then beaten up. Mason said of the incident: "Chris is embarrassed that he thinks he was gay bashed and he doesn't want to tell anyone. He is trying to build a relationship [with his father] but this incident happening, if it revolves around him being gay, just causes more chaos around the fact that he is gay.

"He wants to forget about it. He tells everyone he's fine and that it's not a big deal. Once Chris is in hospital [however, dad] George shows his support and his love. It makes Chris realise that no matter who he is, the people that love him will be there no matter what."

Neighbours boss Susan Bower previously said that she expected the show's first regular male gay character to cause controversy among viewers, saying: "I do believe homophobia is alive and well, and I have no doubt that we will get complaints about it."

However, there have been few complaints since Mason started on the show last year.

> Read Digital Spy's recent interview with 'Neighbours' star James Mason
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