This film is part of Rentals

One in Five

Endearingly right-on concoction bringing together lesbians and gay men for dancing and debate at Heaven nightclub

1982 52 mins Silent

Director: Ken Howard


A fascinating experiment from the early days of Channel 4, One in Five invites a diverse throng of gay men and lesbians to a party in the hallowed arches of London’s Heaven nightclub. Lesbian punks, drag queens and moustachioed muscle Marys mingle and chat about the problems facing queer people in Britain and how to tackle them. Meanwhile, the eclectic crowd is entertained with comic sketches and musical numbers, including Jamaican singer and genderqueer icon Grace Jones performing The Apple Stretching. News updates on gay rights and a report on relevant cinema releases complete the picture.

The final rendition of Free to Be might be over-egging this well-intentioned pudding, and the programme riled some members of the LGBT community, but this is a valuable curio - a snapshot of a pivotal time and place in Britain’s gay history. Director Paul Oremland went on to make the fondly-remembered C4 series Six of Hearts, also available on BFI Player.