Danny Tomlinson was an ex-builder, a workmate of Ed Bailey’s and, unknown to the Bailey family, a gay man who had come out and enjoyed a romance in London with James Bailey which eventually led to him declaring his sexuality when Danny was briefly employed in Weatherfield.
Danny was taken on by Ray Crosby as the temporary bar manager at the Viaduct Bistro in February 2020, surprising Ed when he called there to discuss building alterations. Ed was momentarily surprised to find out that Danny had split from girlfriend Tina and come out into the bargain, but offered his heartfelt congratulations to the lad, and was also pleased to hear that his family had been fully supportive towards him. Having no idea of the history between him and his son, Ed "re-introduced" him to James when he caught up with his dad to bring him his left-behind sandwiches. Left alone with Danny, James took him into the bistro kitchen where he expressed surprise that he was back in this part of Manchester but happily exchanged a kiss with his former lover.
James wasn't ready to take the huge step of coming out to his dad, and knowing that Danny had been invited for a family meal, insisted that he kept their previous relationship a secret. Danny felt that Ed would be more supportive than he reckoned, not knowing that behind their backs, Ed was expressing his shock to Aggie. Another person who was surprised by Michael, not so much at Danny's news, but the revelation that he dragged out of his brother that he and Danny had met in a London club and enjoyed a fling afterwards. He counselled his brother to be honest with Ed and declare his sexuality, but James refused. He was interested though in further dalliances with Danny and, finding No.3 empty, they rushed upstairs to take up where they had left off. Soon interrupted by Ed, they managed to allay any suspicions by telling him that James had been showing off his football trophies.
Being a friend of Ed's from some years back, Danny felt guilty about deceiving him and tried to back off from James, being surprised that his lover had decided to come out to Ed. When he did so, Ed had problems processing the news and the added revelation that the special person in his life was none other than Danny pushed him over the edge. He made his way to the bistro and furiously confronted his ex-workmate, accusing him of corrupting his child. Danny wasn't phased by the outburst and told Ed he was a homophobe and a hypocrite for supporting him, but denying James the same treatment. At a critical moment, a livid James walked in on Ed threatening Danny, causing a near-total split in the family. It was only after a night’s sleep that Ed realised he had gone too far and apologised to Danny, saying his greatest fear was that James’s footballing career would suffer if he came out. This caused Danny to finish with James, which in no way healed the latter’s breach with his father.
Things turned critical a couple of weeks later when the two agreed to go out for a drink, but with no strings attached. Danny reinforced this by sending James a social media message saying that he understood that he couldn’t come out, but he hoped they would still be friends - but committed the cardinal error of posting the message publicly instead of sending it privately. The post created a minor media sensation and any hope that James had of hiding his sexuality were destroyed. Although he tried to ignore the rumours, he eventually plucked up the courage to come out, finding it generated a mixture of abuse and support from many quarters. After a few weeks, Danny left the bistro and moved back down south.
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