Beyond QAF: From News to Sitcoms, out Gays & Lesbians Are Making Their Mark All over British TV

By Giltz, Michael | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), February 5, 2002 | Go to article overview

Beyond QAF: From News to Sitcoms, out Gays & Lesbians Are Making Their Mark All over British TV


Giltz, Michael, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


When BBC TV personality Christopher Price was offered a plum two-year contract for a reported 250,000 [pounds sterling], it made national news in the United Kingdom. The 34-year-old is the host of Liquid News, a sort of Entertainment Weekly for the telly that airs on the satellite channel BBC Choice. Price's show airs nightly at 7 o'clock, and if that channel is relaunched as BBC3, he'll be the signature face.

What didn't cause a stir was the fact that Price is gay. If Queer as Folk showed the United Kingdom leading the way in fictional shows, the next trend in television may be openly gay people being more forthright in every other area of TV. If Great Britain is any indication, queers won't just be popping up as guests on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire--they'll be hosting the show.

"My sexuality has never entered," says Price, who got his break as a newsreader. "You don't say, `Those Bosnian soldiers are looking mighty fine in their fatigues.'" Mind you, Price didn't work out on the CNN-like competitor because higher-ups said he was "too camp." "I wasn't wearing a feather boa or anything," he says.

But at least Price got a chance to live his childhood dream. "I always wanted to be a newsreader. Ever since I was a little child, I wanted to be a newsreader in some kind of sad, sick way. I used to practice in front of the TV."

While 2001 may have been the year that the United States finally embraced Queer as Folk, television in the United Kingdom seems to be running a full decade or so ahead of that in the former colonies. QAF creator Russell T. Davies tweaked gay sensibilities again this year with his latest series, Bob & Rose. The ITV show features a frumpy gay man falling in love ... with a woman. The subject matter alone raised eyebrows, just as QAF did with its frank depiction of sex and drugs.

The pansexual series Metrosexuality pushed TV's limits even further; comic Rhona Cameron played the first lesbian sitcom hero to come out before the show began; and now the handsome, mostly single lads on the witty newsmagazine That Gay Show dive into the world of young gay men with a gusto that makes its precursor--Gaytime TV--look like religious programming.

That Gay Show airs features on fun gay spots at cities around the world, explores jack-off clubs in America, and commissions quickie South Park-style animated shorts on topics such as attempts throughout history to "cure" homosexuality. "I think it's best if you know exactly who you're aiming it for," says host Kristian Digby, a savvy 24-year-old who disagrees with critics who say the show should be more inclusive. "Don't water it down and do a token five minutes for lesbian mothers or drag queens. This show is for normal lads who are gay and in their 20s and that's it. …

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