James Bond star Ben Whishaw has joined a stellar line-up for Queers, a new series of monologues about British gay experience conceived by Mark Gatiss for the BBC.
Whishaw will star in The Man on the Platform as a soldier returning from the trenches of the First World War in the 15-minute monologue written by Gatiss.
The Sherlock co-creator and Doctor Who writer will also curate the series, which sees eight new and established writers respond to the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, which partially decriminalised homosexual acts between men.
They are expected to air on BBC4 around the anniversary of the law, which was passed in the House of Commons on 27 July 1967.
More Anger, written by Brian Fillis, stars Russell Tovey (Him & Her, Being Human) as a gay actor in the 1980s, while Rebecca Front (War and Peace, Humans) will reflect on her “particular marriage” in Missing Alice written by Jon Bradfield.
Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones, Decline and Fall), Kadiff Kirwan (Black Mirror, Chewing Gum), Ian Gelder (Snatch, Game of Thrones) and Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk, HIM) will all appear in the season.
Also showcasing will be Perfect Gentleman, a play about Bobby, a man with a “very unexpected secret” written by Jackie Clune.
The other four plays have been written by Keith Jarrett, Gareth McLean, Matthew Baldwin and Michael Dennis, the first time they – as well as Bradfield – will have written for television. McLean’s play Something Borrowed reflects on a modern gay marriage and stars Alan Cumming.
Queers is being produced in partnership with The Old Vic theatre who will stage all eight of the monologues in July, in the run up to the television transmission.
Gatiss said, “I’m thrilled and delighted to have been asked to curate this exciting series from both established LGBT writers and a whole host of new talent fresh to the screen. It’s a privilege to be working with such brilliant writers and actors. At this challenging and fluid time, it’s a marvellous opportunity to celebrate LGBT life and culture, to see how far we have come and how far we still have to go.”
Gatiss will also star alongside Line of Duty actor Daniel Mays in Against the Law, a new BBC2 factual drama about the real-life story of the explosive Montagu case and the trial of four young men who were jailed for “homosexual offences” in the 1950s.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years writing for Stage newspaper, Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times, The Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.