BBC to celebrate Gay Britannia

Olly Alexander


The BBC has announced a series of gay programming marking the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act in 1967, which partially decriminalised male homosexual acts in private.

Gay Britannia will “feature bold and provocative stories that celebrate the LGBTQ community as well as challenging existing preconceptions and prejudices,” the corporation said.

BBC Two will feature acclaimed film Against the Law, starring Daniel Mays as journalist Peter Wildeblood who was found guilty of homosexuality in the 1950s in the explosive Montagu Trial, and which opened this year’s Flare LGBT Film Festival in London.

Vanessa Redgrave will star in Man in an Orange Shirt, the first screen drama from bestselling gay author Patrick Gale.

What Gay Did For Art on BBC Two will examine LGBT people’s contribution to the arts and popular culture, and The People’s History Of LGBTQ Britain, presented by Susan Calman and Stephen K Amos on BBC Four, will reveal the precious mementos and memorabilia that have the changed the lives of LGBT people over the last 50 years.

On BBC Three Years and Years singer Olly Alexander examines why the gay community is more vulnerable to mental health issues in Olly Alexander: Growing Up Gay.

Highlights on BBC Radio include Val McDermid presenting Queer Britain on Radio 4, exploring the many ways that the LGBT community was accepted, tolerated, despised and ostracised through the years.

On Radio 3, Victim takes a look at the 1961 film of the same name, which was the first English language film to use the word “homosexual”.

Patrick Holland, Channel Controller of BBC Two, says: “This is a rich and compelling set of programmes that challenge us all. From the heart-breaking testimony of the men who lived through the years before partial decriminalisation in Against The Law and Patrick Gale’s intensely personal Man In An Orange Shirt, to a documentary revealing the experience of people facing discrimination in the UK today, this season is a powerful examination of how far we have come – whilst also exploring how much further we have to travel.”