Although BBC’s Gay Britannia season set out to mark the 50th anniversary of The Sexual Offences Act 1967, Queers is by no means restricted to the past five decades. Directed and produced by Doctor Who and Sherlock stalwart Mark Gatiss, these eight short monologues explore an entire century of the LGBT experience in the UK. And it does so all from one pub: everything in Queers – from a returning First World War soldier recalling a forbidden love, to an anxious husband-to-be prepping his speech for one of the first gay weddings – takes places in a single room.
So, what are each of the monologues about? And who’s starring in each one? Scroll below for our guide…
Episode 1 – The Man on the Platform
What’s it about?
The first of the Queers monologues is set in 1917 (a time when you could go to jail for engaging in a gay sex act) and sees a young soldier reminiscing an unspoken romance on the battlefield. It’s told through tales of two memorable railway-station encounters, one as a child and one much more recent. And both are sensationally heartfelt.
Who’s starring in it?
Ben Whishaw, who you probably know as Q in Bond films Skyfall and Spectre. You might also recognise Whishaw from Cloud Atlas, The Danish Girl and as the voice of the titular bear in the 2014 Paddington movie.
Although keeping a low profile, Whishaw has previously spoken about coming out as gay, telling The Sunday Times Magazine (via The Independent) in 2014 that “it is hard, I applaud anyone who does it. There is so much tension around doing something like that, that maybe you’re not quite thinking rationally. You can say absurd things because you are in a panic.”
Who wrote The Man on the Platform?
Mark Gatiss. As well as directing and producing the series, the Doctor Who and Sherlock actor and writer penned the first episode.
'Queers' – eight monologues commemorating the 1967 Act. BBC4 Mon-Thurs 10pm. Please watch if you can. Immensely proud of them. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/PfSSl3w9gI
And if you can’t remember him as Mycroft Holmes or the soldier in the Doctor Who Christmas special trailer then you might also know Gatiss as Bravos banker Tycho Nestoris in Game of Thrones or the Prince Regent in Tom Hardy’s Taboo.
Gatiss has also written several Doctor Who novels, plus TV films An Adventure in Space and Time and The First Men in the Moon.
Episode 2 – A Grand Day Out
What’s it about?
Set in 1994, this episode is shaped by Parliament’s debate on lowering the same-sex age of consent from 21 to 16, in line with that for heterosexual acts. (This debate meant consent age was eventually only lowered to 18, and it only became 16 in 2001).
This event is told by Andrew, a wonderfully sweet 17-year-old from Nottingham who arrives in London for the first time – with unexpected results.
Who’s in it?
Fionn Whitehead, a relative newbie to screen who you might know from ITV series HIM as the teen who discovers he wields telekinetic powers. Whitehead recently made a splash in Chris Nolan’s Dunkirk as a British soldier, acting alongside Harry Styles.
Who wrote it?
Michael Dennis. A Grand Day Out marks his first TV writing credit – Dennis is normally known as a highly experienced stage manager whose work includes Sex with Strangers and The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide To Capitalism And Socialism (Hampstead Theatre), Future Conditional (The Old Vic)and Oppenheimer (RSC).