Coronation Street star Andrew Lancel has denied that he said the soap has too many gay characters.

Critic Brian Sewell caused outrage earlier this week when he wrote in the Daily Mail that the ITV soap was dominated by “showered, prinked and perfumed” male characters.

He also claimed that other soaps including EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks have homosexual characters “who dominate the storylines”.

Andrew, who plays factory boss Frank Foster, was reported in one newspaper as saying he agreed the number of gay characters was disproportionate.

But the 40-year-old actor wrote on Twitter: “Mmmm Just seen Daily Star. Well that seems considerably different to everything I’ve been saying recently and believe doesn’t it. saddened. (sic)”

Brian’s article prompted gay Coronation Street stars Antony Cotton and Charlie Condou to hit back on Twitter.

Charlie also wrote an open reply in The Guardian, calling comments “barely-veiled homophobia”.

In the paper, Brian wrote: “Is it true that the lives of heterosexual Mancunians are haplessly intertwined with transvestites, transsexuals, teenage lesbians and a horde of homosexuals across the age range? Is Manchester now the Sodom of the North?”

Charlie, who plays gay dad Marcus Dent, retorted: “I wouldn’t have thought four characters out of a cast of about 65 regulars was excessive.

“Sewell seems to suggest there’s something morally reprehensible in being gay, and that there’s some kind of promotion of a gay agenda at work (led by a sinister-sounding ‘mafia’).

“But in fact you barely see a kiss from the gay characters, just like our heterosexual counterparts. It’s not a ‘sexy’ show.”