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A gay play for today

GAY! Consenting Adults, BBC4, 9.00pm

Consenting AdultsNot so very long ago, Channel 4 came over all queer and had a short season of gay-themed programming to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Homosexual Reform Act, which legalised bumming amongst 21-and-overs in the privacy of their own homes, and without which this website would probably be a grubby little backstreet website in a dirty overcoat rather than the spangly wonder that it is today. Perhaps unfortunately, C4 chose to mark the occasion with the drama Clapham Junction, which didn't go down very well (fnar) on the boards at all, due to it sort of implying that all gays are scumbags who conduct lives of unfulfilled misery and various other things that made the Daily Mail go "see? We were right all along."

Now it's BBC4's turn, not because they were slow off the bat, but because they've chosen to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Wolfenden Report, which is what lead to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the first place (yep, it took ten years. Frightening, eh?). John Wolfenden, chairman of the committee into the report, considered homosexuality "an abomination", but in an interesting turn of fate, his own son Jeremy was gay, thereby creating one of those classic clashes of the private and the public life that tend to make quite good TV dramas.

Needless to say this will probably be significantly less shocking than Channel 4's effort, since that's not really what BBC4's about, but early reports suggest it won't entirely be shying away from the televised-bumming side of things, which is good, yes? Plus there's an impressive cast including Charles Dance, Samantha Bond, Mark Gatiss and David Bamber, and in what we suspect will be pleasing to a certain sector of the audience, Sean Biggerstaff, who played Oliver Wood in the Harry Potter movies, as Jeremy. Just don't let the side down by watching this with a pile of Kleenex next to you or anything, eh? This is serious television, remember.

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According to Marxist theory, cultural forms such as opera, classical music and the literary works of Shakespeare all fall under the heading of high culture. Low culture refers to a wide variety of cultural themes that are characterised by their consumption by the masses. We might not be Marxists, but we do know we loved Footballers Wives. If you do too, you'll know what this is all about.

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