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Comment: Channel 4’s wasted opportunity

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  1. Sue Whitley 23 Jul 2007, 9:37pm

    Having had a gay brother and working in his gay club, some older readers may remember the Masquerade – Earls Court, I had strong objections to Clapham Common and thought it set back the gay movement and judging from my straight friends reactions caused severe damage.Why show the worst in nearly all the characters. The programme seemed intent on shocking for it’s own sake.The sex scenes unlike any I have seen on straight programmes.I marched on many gay rights matters and campaigned for gay marriages. Then these programme makers portray gay marriage as nothing more than a mockery of marriage.I thought after seeing The Last Gay Trail, which was great, that these programmes would provide a positive response from heterosexuals, now I am sure this programme will do nothing but harm.How dare channel 4 aire such an awful portrayal of gay men.

  2. I think alot of the gay community are not always aware of some things , or choose to ignore them until they happen to them. The best example is age. Also the other is where you live. I live in a rural area. They only gay meeting places for us , are the crusing places. These places are not just about sex. The last time I went I swapped some tomatos plants! They are nearly always filled with guys over 40 and older. They dont want to go to clubs, firstly the feel they are past it and secondly because of the way younger gay guys make them feel. Go on some of the other gay web sites and see how the younger gay guys talk to the older guys in the chat rooms. Sometimes it is dreadful. Yes the crusing areas still offend the straights, but then would I go into any bar and start talking openly and make my sexuality know. No way! There are still people out there that seem to think that we are the last group in this counry that are fair game for abuse and violence. Things are getting better yes, but they still have a long way to go. I have lived the last five years, in a house that has suffered abuse, missles being thrown at it, and lastly threaten with violence. Average age of the guilty parties is 16. This is the next generation, with what attitude towards gay people will they have in the future? The other point feel I have to make is that how most gay oganizations direct everything towards the big citys. They never really come across as national. I have been in touch with some of them nad I can only say , I was disapointed. I think that we forget that we live our lives differently, I dont want to be straight, live a straight life. Whatever thats is. I embrace my gaynees, my differences from how my straight family lives. They have their way , I have mine. Also not all gay people live the same. I personally dont want to live in a designer flat, with a soft top sports car, a house in the country, three holidays a year, so as I have piccys from abroad for my gaydar profile. Or have a younger boyfriend and a black labrador. I want to be me, gay, cruisng, respectful,helpful and loving. Oh yeah I also forgot, I grow my own tomatos. So remember this drama might not relate to you, but it did me, and others like me, esp my friend Martin who was murdered.

  3. it was called the last gay trial then just before transmission they changed it!!!but ur comment is gonehaloscan (the service that pinknews seems to use) is weird man it loses messages!unless u were blocked by evil forces at channel 4spoooooooooooookylol

  4. I totally agree with the reviewer. As a gay man who has been out for nearly quarter of a century I was appalled by Clapham Common. It destroyed any positive images that we have worked so hard to get over the last twenty years. I sat and watched as every stereotype that could possibly be trundled out was introduced. If I was a gay teenager again I’d stay in the closet after watching it. It was no better than the tripe that I grew up with ‘John Inman’ et al. I hope that Channel 4s rest of the season is more up beat. I am no prude but that wasnt my gay life and I doubt whether it was many other Gay persons life either.

  5. I was looking forward to watching this, and while I was expecting some portrayal of the downsides of being gay, I hoped that there would be some balance provided too. Things were going well with the civil partnership, but it all went a bit downhill from there. Infidelity, drugs, denial, gays outside the mainstream. If anything, I thought Queer as folk provided a more realistic idea of gay life now, despite being nearly 10 years old. This, along with the documentary ‘the trouble with gay men’ that came out a few years ago, are fuelling the stereotpyes many people have while not connecting with what the majority of gays living in large cities today would think of as a realistic and relative drama. A shame that an opportunity such as this was missed!

  6. Who produced this programme and were they gay or straight? Robert, ex-pat Brit.

  7. I have to agree with some other comments and the reviewer: Clapham Junction pandered to every negative stereotype of a gay lifestyle, which is a shame as some of the performances were perfectly nuanced. But the story left me feeling very bitter – the centrepiece of a season celebrating the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality decided to be controversial for controversy’s sake and neglect the wider issues within the gay community.

  8. To save time for the over-worked commissioning editors at Channel 4 here’s a handy guide to any drama based around inter-connected gay characters:Every gay character must display at least one of the following character traits: narcissism, drug addition, sex addiction, isolation, sadism, obsession, vanity. Under no circumstances should any gay character be well-balanced, it does not make for good drama.This should be quick, aggressive and violent, and it must appear painful. A bit of spit can be used as lube – this implies rough sex plus a lack of condom which adds to the irresponsible mood of the scene. Gay sex can never be portrayed as enjoyable, loving or fun.At least one character in the drama must be the youngest sexually active gay character in a TV drama to date. Please refer to the most recently broadcast gay drama for the current threshold.These are as active as they were in the 1960’s and they form the heart of gay life. The handsome bright young thing in the drama will think nothing of boffing a geriatric who is old enough to be his grandfather. In a menacing set-piece scene, at least one gay character must be queer-bashed in the cottage by BNP thug-types leaving him dead or critically injured.Use of cruising sites is universal and the ultimate destination at the end of the evening for every gay character irrespective of his personality. (Note: turn a blind eye to filming night scenes during the day because it is far too complicated to make a night cruising scene look realistic). Do not mention Gaydar – it is not as televisual as cottages or cruising parks.Interior scenes should always be styled like a provincial dance-bar in Blackpool (even if the drama is set in London) and there must be a male stripper in the background of every shot.These must be one of the following:a) A new relationship characterised by infatuation and sexual obsessionb) An established relationship comprising the dominant partner who is an unfaithful, sex-obsessed cad and the submissive partner with co-dependency issues who is fatefully unaware of his partner’s philandering.One Mum should be a fiercely proud Mum who loves the gay scene. As a contrast (and handy for dramatic tension) there should be another uptight, overbearing Mum who rejects her son. (Narrative tip: the rejection can be permanent to emphasise the isolation and rejection felt by gays, or there can be a rapprochement towards the end to signify hope where homophobia is overcome).One Dad should ideally be absent (perhaps a root cause in the son’s homosexuality). One Dad must be a closet case who generally runs into another character in a cottage.

  9. clapham junction was too long with way too many people!!! the sex scenes were hot

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