This film is part of Free

Being Gay in the Thirties (Gay Life)

This edition of LWT's pioneering 1980s TV series looks at gay experience 50 years earlier

1981 35 mins


In this outstanding episode of pioneering 1980s TV series Gay Life, Gifford Skinner describes what it was like to be a gay man in the 1930s. Illuminating and nostalgic, Gifford recalls picking up guardsmen in Hyde Park as well as some of the homosexual ‘characters’ he encountered in London’s West End. The gay activist, historian and sociologist Jeffrey Weeks is interviewed about gay law reform.

This episode is presented by Michael Attwell, who also produced the series for the London Minorities Unit. London Weekend Television may have screened Gay Life in the Sunday night ‘graveyard’ slot of 11.30pm (London area only), but it attracted a lot of publicity, some of it negative. Lesbians protested that they were excluded from the first series in 1980, so this was rectified for the much-improved second series in 1981. In the pages of Gay News veteran activist Dudley Cave welcomed Gay Life, saying it reached “into the homes and the closets to places where Gay News never gets.”