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Binnie was an out and proud lesbian, which was in stark contrast to her shy and retiring girlfriend.
Character creation and developmentEdit
Binnie and her girlfriend Della Alexander were the first lesbian couple to be featured in EastEnders. Their inclusion was an attempt to portray positive examples of characters who just happen to be homosexual. Their lesbian kiss accounted for some 45 percent of viewer complaints to the BBC regarding EastEnders in 1994; provoking more complaints than any other television programme that year (according to research published by the Broadcasting Standards Council in 1995).
In 2005 their lesbian kiss was featured in E4's X Rated: Top 20 Most Controversial TV Moments; a documentary examining British TV's most talked about on-screen moments. It was placed at number 11 in the chart and, according to the poll, received an estimated 486 viewer complaints and 180 column inches in the British press.
In 1995, lesbian actress Pam St. Clement, who plays Pat Evans, was asked if EastEnders' first lesbian storyline suffered from "seeming to follow the pack rather than lead it". She commented, "I think they realised there was something missing, but having given themselves that brief they didn't know what the fuck to do with it. I think Michael Cashman made Colin Russell so successful because he is a gay man. I'd never argue for somebody having to be a part to do it - you don't have to be a murderer to play Othello - and I think the two young girls [who played Della and Binnie] did what they could, but they couldn't really give the programme any help."
Binnie arrived in Albert Square in June 1994. She was the secret girlfriend of hairdresser Della Alexander. Whilst Della preferred to keep her sexuality hidden, Binne was out and proud and wanted everyone to know. She refused to put up with anyone's bigotry and defended her choice of lifestyle to anyone that dared to pass judgement.
Della had been in Walford for a few months before Binnie's arrival, and in this time she'd sparked up a close, flirtatious relationship with the barman, Steve Elliot. Steve had become a partner in Della's hair salon and had began to think that he and Della would soon be more than just friends. Binnie was adamant that Della should tell Steve about her sexuality, but Della found the prospect of 'coming out' extremely daunting. Several days later, the situation was brought to a head prematurely, when Steve accidentally walked in on Della and Binnie in bed together. Steve was furious, as he felt Della had been leading him on. He threw her out of his home, prompting several arguments between him and Binnie. Steve and Binnie were sworn enemies thereafter, although they did manage to put aside their differences later in the year.
Binnie and Della soon moved into a bedsit on the Square and Binnie got a job working as a barmaid in The Queen Vic alongside Steve. She and Steve would bicker constantly, mainly because Steve refused to accpet that Della was gay and regularly tried it on with her, leaving Binnie fuming with jealousy. More problems arose when Natalie Price heard a rumour that Binnie and Della were lesbians. She started telling anyone who cared to listen about how disgusting and unnatural the pair were. This reaction only sought to increase Della's trepdidation about living as a lesbian and she started denying the rumours; claiming that she'd never slept with a woman before in her life. Infuriated by Della's shame, Binnie threatened to leave the Square, which forced Della to prioritise. In order to convince Binnie to stay, Della kissed her in the middle of Bridge Street, which really gave the gossips something to talk about.
Binnie spent most of her time on the Square trying to force Della to conform to her lesbian ideals. She regularly pressurised her to 'come out' to her mother and generally bossed her around making demands, which often caused blazing rows between them. Despite this, Binnie usually had Della's best interests at heart and the two genuinely loved each other.
In 1995 Binnie and Della decided that they'd had enough of Walford and they decided to make a new start of things in Ibiza. They both departed in May 1995.
- ↑ Brake, Colin (1995). EastEnders: The First 10 Years: A Celebration. BBC Books. ISBN 0-563-37057-2.
- ↑ "Broadcast Concerns 1994-1995", Broadcasting Standards Council. URL last accessed on 2006-11-06.
- ↑ "Tomorrow some 20 million people will tune in to EastEnders", The Independent, 24 December 1995. Retrieved on 2007-07-04.