GAYTIME TV

July's season of Television at the BFI provides some welcome outings from its archives of gay and lesbian TV from the Sixties to the early Nineties. "Out of the Archives", programmed by TV historian Stephen Bourne, was originally intended as a one-off event in 1992, but its popularity as a celebration of gay voices recording the changing attitudes of British television has turned it into an annual event.

"It's a sort of secret history really," says Bourne. "When I was growing up in the Seventies, I was aware of our contribution and of an awareness on TV. But it was mainly images like Larry Grayson, or social victims... and lesbians weren't seen at all."

Opening the season will be a celebration of the writer and civil rights activist James Baldwin, including screenings of several interviews given for British TV. Other highlights include homages to influential divas of 1960s pop (below)- Shirley Bassey et al - and screenings of the Granada Television drama-documentaries based on the trials of Oscar Wilde and Sir Roger Casement.

On 15 July, Rose Collis, who recently published a biography of Nancy Spain, will be discussing her book - A Trouser-Wearing Character - and introducing rarely seen footage of one of the first TV panel game personalities. Described by the News of the World in 1961 as "gay", "provocative" and "going places", Spain managed to be both a "visible" gay and a household name.

Within the media, homosexuality was then the "love that dare not speak its name". "Of course, things are different now," says Bourne, "even though there are limits on gay portrayal in TV. The brief I set myself was to look back at some of the earlier work that was very progressive and very rarely seen... except on the South Bank in July".

Tuesdays throughout July at 7.30pm, Museum Cinema, NFT, London SE1 (0171- 928 3232)

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