A chance to catch up with This Life’s gay icon

Tony Grew January 2, 2007
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Tonight, BBC2 will be showing a programme that many viewers have been waiting a decade for.

Cult hit drama This Life featured what many consider to be the one of the most influential gay characters in the history of television.

Writer Amy Jenkins has returned to the lives of Egg, Milly, Anna, Miles and most importantly Warren, ten years after the series began.

Tonight’s one-off 90-minute special will be must-see TV for anyone who was is old enough to remember being glued to their sets every week following the ups and downs of this group of young lawyers trying to make their first steps on the career ladder.

This Life is recalled with particular fondness by gay and lesbian viewers, for in the character of Warren we had, arguably for the first time, an unsensational portrayal of the trails and tribulations of the London life of a young gay man.

We watched as Warren confronted prejudice at work and at home, slowly came to terms with coming out to his family, and risked his career engaging in illegal cruising.

The series opened with Warren talking about his predicament with his never-seen therapist, and ended with a confident gay man ditching his therapy to take a trip round the world.

The beauty of This Life was that is wasn’t just about Warren. Viewers came to care about all the characters, and for perhaps the first time heterosexual viewers found themselves wanting a gay man to come out, wanting him to be able to tell his family and his boss who he was.

In the second series the writers went further, and introduced a bisexual character, bike courier Ferdie, something practically unheard of in British drama. He too was troubled by his sexual desires but ultimately found a way to be happy.

Today it all seems so ordinary, but at the time it was anything but.

Throw into the mix the volatile, sexy Anna, the uptight Miles, the troubled artist Egg and the sensible Milly, and it was TV gold.

What has become of them all, ten years on? Tune into BBC2 tonight at 9pm to find out.

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