As the UK prepares to celebrate 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, Sherlock star Mark Gatiss is set to lead a new BBC series charting 100 years of being gay in Britain.
The 50-year-old actor and screenwriter, who plays Mycroft Holmes in the hit BBC drama series and also serves as a writer, has curated eight original dramatic shorts set to air on BBC Four in July, shortly after being staged at the Old Vic Theatre in London.
Grouped under the title Queers, each standalone monologues has been penned by a different writer, with the aim of exploring different aspect of gay life in Britain throughout the 20th and early 21st century.
According to BBC Four, they will “mark and celebrate some of the most poignant, funny, entertaining, tragic and riotous moments of British gay history and the very personal rites of passage of gay Britons through the last 100 years.”
The series will kick off with ‘The Man on the Platform’, written by Gatiss himself. Set in 1917, the short follows the story of a young man returning from the trenches of the First World War and reflecting on his attraction for another man.
Other instalments in the series will address the Wolfenden Report of 1957, which recommended that homosexuality should not longer be a crime; the 1967 Sexual Offences Act,which decriminalised gay relationships in private for men over the age of 21, and the HIV crisis that of the 1980s.
The writers include singer and actress Jackie Clune, An Englishman in New York star Brian Fillis, Guardian journalist Gareth McLean, and poet Keith Jarrett, as well as Jon Bradfield, Matthew Baldwin and Michael Dennis.
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.”
As well as his work on Queers, Gatiss also features in Against the Law, a new docudrama based on the 1954 trial of Conservative English politician Lord Montagu for gay sex offences set to air on BBC Two this summer.
Queers will premiere in the UK on BBC Four in July.