entertainment

Gays on TV: Your guide to the week's best LGBT TV and film

It's Pride-time on the box this week.

2019-06-21

Words: Hugh Kaye

There’s been a lot of talk about companies jumping on the Pride bandwagon – and not wanting to be left behind, now TV seems to be doing it.

Presented by out comedians Stephen K Amos and Susan Calman, Prejudice and Pride: The People’s History of LGBTQ Britain (BBC4, Sun 23 June, 10pm) is the first programme in a two-part series telling the story of ordinary queer people’s loves and struggles during the past 50 years.

It puts a special emphasis on the possessions - including copies of the first 'openly' gay magazine - that helped to define their lives. The first episode covers the period between 1967 and 1987.

On a not dissimilar note, the documentary Stonewall Uprising (PBS America, Fri 28 June, 10.55pm) shows how the fight for gay rights was given a kick-start after thuggish New York police officers raided a then-far-from-famous (or fabulous) gay bar in Greenwich Village…

Staying with celebrations, Pride Live at the Apollo (BBC2, Tues 25 June, 10pm) looks at the stand-up routines of LGBTQ funny men and women, which the BBC has covered.

There’s a much more serious tone to The Trans Women Athlete Dispute with Martin Navratilova (BBC1, Weds 26 Jun, 9pm). The former tennis great looks into the issue of trans women taking part in competition, speaking to the athletes themselves as well as sports scientists to find out if transgender sports stars really have an unfair advantage in events.

A more fictionalised take on transgender women sees Eddie Redmayne as an artist determined to undergo sexual reassignment surgery in 1920s Copenhagen, in the award-winning The Danish Girl (ITV3, Sun 23 Jun, 11pm).

Last this week, but definitely not least, there’s Drag SOS (C4, Tues 25 Jun, 10pm). The show follows current Attitude cover stars Family Gorgeous as they travel around the UK transforming people into drag version of themselves.

In this first episode, they are in Dover, in Kent, where they help a single mum and a middle-aged dad. For more about the programme and interviews with the presenters, see the current issue of Attitude, available now in print and on iPad.

More of the same (well, sort of) can of course be found in season 11’s grand finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which is streaming on Netflix, as the four remaining queens battle it out for the crown.

The streaming service also has Wanda Sykes: Not Normal, with the lesbian comedian going through her stand-up routine, and you're after eye-candy try Riverdale star Cole Sprouse’s twin brother, Dylan, as a psychotic student in Dismissed (it’s totally crazy) and Asa Butterfield in Departures, or the cute boys of Elite and Sex Education.

One other item may be of interest, although it’s not on TV. Radio 4’s Book of the Week from Monday 24 June is Modern Nature by Derek Jarman.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Jarman’s death, and Modern Nature is a diary of his garden at his remote cottage on the coast of Dungeness in the years after he was diagnosed with HIV, and a meditation on his life: his childhood, his time as a young gay man in the 1960s and his career as an artist, writer and film-maker.

The book is read by Rupert Everett every day of the week from 9.45am.