Beginning on Monday 2nd December to mark World AIDS Day and continuing for on the following two Monday evenings, BBC Four is to screen the multi-award winning Swedish drama Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves, telling the story of the AIDS crisis as it hit Stockholm’s gay community in the 1980s.
Based on the novels of Jonas Gardell, Sweden’s most well known gay figure, the series opens with the shocking sight of those dying from AIDS in the early 1980s. You will wince as a nurse tells a colleague off for wiping the tears of a crying, dying man as she explains “don’t ever wipe tears without gloves.”
Telling the story of the AIDS crisis on a very personal basis through flashbacks of the lives of Rasmus (Adam Pålsson) and the love of his life Benjamin (Adam Lundgren). Rasmus arrives in Stockholm as a fresh faced student from a provincial town where he was the subject of homophobic bullying. Benjamin, a devout Jehovah’s Witness whose sexuality is spotted by Paul (Simon Berger), a gay Jew who is depicted as the life and soul of Stockholm’s gay underworld.
Through flashbacks, we are reminded of the first reports of HIV and AIDS, as a mysterious ‘cancer’ that primarily affected homosexual men.
The series gripped Sweden, united the LGBT community and is credited with an increase in awareness about HIV and AIDS. The programme was named as Sweden’s Best Drama at the Kristallen Awards. This year, its author, Johan Gardell was named Sweden’s LGBT person of the year and was presented an award by Swedish Crown Princess Victoria.
Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves begins on BBC Four on Monday 2 December 2013 at 10pm. It will be available on the BBC iPlayer. A feature on the programme and its impact will be available on PinkNews later during the series.]
A preview clip of Rasmus’ first visit to a gay club is below.