“Ted Lasso”‘s Billy Harris Hopes Colin’s Plot Makes Things Easier For Real Life LGBTQ+ Athletes

Apple / Colin Hutton

“Ted Lasso”‘s Billy Harris knows some fans have been waiting a long time for this. Harris plays Colin Hughes, a Welsh left winger for the shows’s fictional AFC Richmond. In the third episode of season two, Colin makes a passing comment about Grindr, which goes unremarked on by the rest of the team. But some fans – especially LGBTQ+ ones – thought the show was laying the seeds before ultimately revealing Colin is queer (and closeted, a too frequent situation in men’s sports). And in season three, the show reveals that Colin is gay, though he’s still hesitant about coming out publicly. Harris tells POPSUGAR that he had “so many interactions” with fans about Colin’s Grindr line, and he was glad that the show validated their theories this season.

He especially cherishes the sixth episode of this season, where Colin has a heart-to-heart with Trent Crimm (James Lance), who’s also queer. Colin is tired of living what he calls two lives, and he’s ready for the two sides of him – footballer and gay man – to merge together. “The way that it was tackled was one of the one of my favorite things,” he explains. “It wasn’t scandalous, it wasn’t seen as a negative.”

“I think that one of the things I take away from this [plot] is that all athletes are people as well as sports people,” he says. He’s especially glad the show is sparking conversations for people about inclusivity in sports.

Lance tells POPSUGAR, “It’s a privilege to be a part of such a impactful storyline.” He had no idea that’s where Trent’s journey was going when he was cast in season one as a serious reporter who’s always a thorn in Ted’s side. But between seasons one and two, he found out that Trent would still be hanging around with the team in season three.

“I got a text from Jason [Sudeikis] that said that Trent was around in the world in season two, but he was excited about his story arc of season three, which was an amazing thing to find out,” Lance explains. He finally got a hint of that story arc in season two, when Sudeikis (who co-created the show, serves as showrunner for season three, and stars as Ted) and co-creator Joe Kelly walked him from his dressing room to the pub set one day during filming. “[Jason] said, ‘OK, so season three, you’re gonna be doing a deep dive book on the team. And by the way, you’re in the pub with that guy.'”

“And I was like, what I’m with that guy,” Lance says. “And he was like, ‘You’re with that guy.'” Some viewers at the time picked up that Trent might be on a date with the mystery man at the pub, but the show never made the connection explicit. “So it was very exciting,” Lance says.

Harris is hopeful about the future of LGBTQ+ people in sports in the real world. “I do believe, you know, a lot of the fans and the clubs would be supportive,” he says of players coming out, adding that it’s the “select few” followers who would be an issue, and they always ends up sending “toxic messages.”

But if “Ted Lasso” can help make things easier for queer athletes and fans, “I think that that’s what this show is all about,” he says.

New episodes of “Ted Lasso” stream Wednesdays on Apple TV+>

Related: “Ted Lasso” Star Jodi Balfour and Abbi Jacobson Met on a Dating App

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