Brian Sewell, whom noone could ever accuse of being too gay *snigger* offers this deep analysis in the HateMail:
Is it true that the lives of heterosexual Mancunians are haplessly intertwined with transvestites, transsexuals, teenage lesbians and a horde of homosexuals across the age range? Is Manchester now the Sodom of the North?
Coronation Street has a gay scriptwriter, Damon Rochefort. Fine. Nothing wrong with that. Indeed, its very first writer, its inventor in 1959, Tony Warren, was gay and open about it when homosexuality was still illegal and the penalties dire — and had a tough time with homophobia.
But the pendulum has swung to the other extreme, and where once we had no gaiety at all, we now, perhaps, have rather too much.
So a man who isn’t at all ‘too gay’ says it’s ok for the country’s premier soap opera to depict homosexuality, but not beyond a certain level. Gosh. Does he not understand what a soap opera is? For that matter does he not know Manchester?! But he goes on:
We have constructed a society that surrenders to the will of minorities that shout. We see it among ethnic minorities and sexual minorities, in the disabled lobby and in the funding, patronage and promotion of the arts.
And giving these minorities a huge voice is fundamental to the philosophy of those in charge of TV. As a result, TV is far too politically correct. It fosters all minorities and gives them a disproportionate amount of airtime.
In every kind of programme — be it drama, news, debate or for children — in this land of equal opportunities, minorities are given the opportunity to punch above their weight.
This is an art critic writing, who clearly doesn’t understand what art is about. Unsurprisingly perhaps, given that he’s writing in the HateMail, he’s ascribing a negative agenda to the proper and fair depiction of social diversity – a mean spirited agenda not born out by the facts. Charlie Condou points out:
There are only four regular gay characters in Coronation Street – I play Marcus Dent, who’s in a relationship with Sean Tully (played by Antony Cotton), and there’s also the young lesbian couple Sophie Webster and Sian Powers. That’s it. Hayley Cropper was once a man, but she’s been one of the show’s most popular characters since she joined 13 years ago, the first transsexual ever in a British soap. There is a cross-dresser in Marc Selby, but he is straight and in fact has two women fighting over him. Gail’s father, Ted, was gay – but he hasn’t been in it for years. I wouldn’t have thought four characters out of a cast of about 65 regulars was excessive.
Sewell seems to suggest there’s something morally reprehensible in being gay, and that there’s some kind of promotion of a gay agenda at work (led by a sinister-sounding “mafia”). But in fact you barely see a kiss from the gay characters, just like our heterosexual counterparts. It’s not a “sexy” show.
It’s not about ‘sexy’ of course, it’s about Sewell suggesting he’ll put up with homosexuality (and the HateMail’s readership should too), as long as ‘we’ don’t rub ‘their’ noses in it. That couldn’t be more of a homophobic stance to take. Soap operas may not be high art, but they have traditionally blazed trails worldwide in confronting issues and pushing boundaries, and most viewers have always understood this. Sewell says:
If the audience responds to the proselytising and is happy for the street to swarm with gloomy lesbians and happy homosexuals engaged in relationships ranging from intensely monogamous to brief, shallow and promiscuous, then it must be broadcast after the watershed.
But I don’t think the viewers agree. The days where the pro-Section 28 argument, that we ‘recruit’, could wash with the general public have long since come to an end. Why on earth should non-sexual same-sex relationships only be shown after 9pm? What era does this camp art critic think we’re living in? This argument isn’t really about somehow ‘purifying’ our culture from a homosexual excess – by using language such as ‘Sodom of the North’, Sewell has demonstrated it’s about his promotion of naked bigotry. He’s trying to gain legitimacy by pretending to stand up for a working class which is being misrepresented, but of course the working class in this country has traditionally stood up for proper gay representation better than almost anyone else. And of course he wouldn’t dare try to publish this hatchet job in the Morning Star or Socialist Worker – he and his sponsor Paul Dacre know just who they’re really aiming at. They can both fuck off.