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UK: TV Doco explores men

Fri 16 Feb 2007 In: International News

The UK's Channel 4 plans to show a film documentary charting the lives of seven gay men over a 36-hour period as they visit Clapham Common in search of sex. Clapham Junction, a film by Kevin Elyot, will be part of a series of films and documentaries marking the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK this year. The film is expected to generate more headlines for Channel 4 – the channel has spent the start of 2007 fending off accusations of condoning racism on Celebrity Big Brother. They are already predicting that Elyot's film is likely to generate more controversy for its explicit portrayals of gay sex and, more importantly, homophobic attacks on the common. Channel 4 will show the film in August as part of a short season to mark the passing of the Sexual Offences Act in 1967, which legalised male homosexual acts in private between two people aged 21 or over. Elyot's original concept stemmed from the homophobic murder of Jody Dobrowski on the Common in 2005. The 24-year-old barman was punched and kicked to death by two men in an attack so brutal that his family was unable to identify him. The channel is expecting controversy over their explicit Clapham Common piece, and the PR offensive has already begun. Elyot argues that it is essential to portray the lesser-known side of gay lifestyle in 21st century London in a gritty and realistic way. A series of documentaries is also scheduled, including a dramatic reconstruction of a man being tried in the 1960's for his sexuality. Liza Marshall, commissioning editor for drama at the station, appeared to misunderstand the nature of the channel's previous groundbreaking gay drama: "This film will not be fluffy like Queer as Folk because times appear to have changed and gay politics has moved on," she said. "The rise in homosexual violence is on record and this is Kevin's attempt to address that, his take on what it is like to be gay in London today, which is in many ways very disturbing. "There has been a real rise in gay bashing but this is also accompanied by civil partnerships and a widespread public acceptance of them - we wanted to explore this conflict."     Ref: (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Friday, 16th February 2007 - 12:00pm

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