Sky Atlantic series celebrates Britain’s gay icons


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

To coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Sky Atlantic will be broadcasting a three-part series to celebrate the alternative 'queens' of British television.

Starting tomorrow, God Save The Queens is a documentary series looking at the careers of gay icons and their roles in changing attitudes towards homosexuality in Britain over the past six decades.

From David Bowie and Freddy Mercury to Lily Savage and Graham Norton, the careers of musicians, entertainers and actors, will go under the spotlight. The three 60-minute programmes combine compelling archive footage with commentary from contributors, including Cilla Black, Julian Clary, Ronnie Corbett, Arlene Phillips, and Alan Cumming.   

Series Producer Ros Edwards says that even though society has come so far there is more that still needs to be done to break down homophobic attitudes.

"I think the likes of Alan Carr, Louie Spence, Paul O’Grady, Brian Dowling and Boy George have all done an amazing job by just being themselves in the spotlight," she told The Independent.

"It has broken down huge barriers and brought a much fairer appreciation of being gay and being in the spotlight. But I don’t think that anybody will deny that there is still prejudice out there and a lot of lessons to be learnt. We have got to the point where [gay icons] do dominate and are open and out. They’re not judged and I think that’s just how it should be."

The series will focus mainly on male gay performers. Edwards says: "I think that there’s a completely separate programme looking at the role of lesbians in the spotlight. I think there’s also quite a way to go with that particular story and it’s still working its way through."

The first episode, Hidden Queens, will focus on male performers in the spotlight who hid their sexuality, including Kenneth Williams, Liberace and Danny La Rue.

‘God Save The Queens’ starts on Thursday 31st May at 8pm on Sky Atlantic