Saturday, 20 October 2012

458: Gay Television Producers

And so to add to the gay actors, gay choreographers, gay dancers, gay hair dressers, gay interior decorators, gay fashion designers, gay shop assistants, gay antique shop-owners, gay teachers, gay writers, gay civil servants, gay spies, and gay guardsmen, may I may present:

Gay TV producers

I suppose it’s just a further new modern arena in which gay men can be theatrical and temperamental. There was an early example in Victor Spinetti’s character in “A Hard Days Night” (1964).

“Private Eye” 3 January 1967

A couple of years on is this character by Barry Humphries in “The Adventures of Barry McKenzie”. Admittedly, in this instalment the presentation he’s introduced first as a gay man, and then is a TV producer later, so it’s not a smooth integration.

In most cases this appearance of a gay TV producer is not a matter of being a fully rounded character or even much of a joke. It’s really just a matter of throwing a brief of moment of comic colour into the environs of television production.

“Dawson and Friends”, 1977
Starts: 0.55 – 2.20

This Subsonic sketch is a parody of the ITV music programme, “Supersonic” and its presenter Mike Mansfield, here spoofed by Julian Orchard in a very floppy pink bow, with a very limp wrist and some “sweety”s and “dear”s. Manfield isn’t gay that I’m aware of, so this very broad camp portrayal is just an added extra. There’s a Lot of It About, 1982
20.58 – 21.20

“There’s a Lot of It About” was one of the later of Spike Milligan’s rather free-form sketch programmes. Some of the sketches in this series were also written by Andrew Marshall and David Renwick, but I don’t think this is one of them. Spike Milligan rarely bothers with gay jokes, so for all that this just a very brief cameo it therefore stands out (although some of the characters portrayed by Peter Sellers in “The Goon Show” have a possible gay interpretation). In this sketch, a very broad camp caricature appears for a few seconds when a parody of the TV programme “Panorama” goes off the rail and comes to a technical halt. The part is played by Keith Smith who flounces on, addresses the crew in an enormously camp voice and with tremendously fluttering hands, then flounces off again. The picture quality is a little fuzzy, but it looks as though Smith is also distinguished by wearing a pair conspicuous purple shiny earrings.

“Punch”, 18 October 1978

Off the immediate topic of TV producers, but Smith’s ludicrous caricature me reminds a lot of this equally spurious, unrealistic and related-only-to-other-comic-stereotypes throwaway illustration according a humorous piece about “The A.A. Book of Minorities”.

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