BBC to make drama on Wolfenden report

Rachel Charman June 1, 2007
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Lion Television Scotland’s first drama will focus on the debate leading to the 1957 Wolfenden report.

The report was a turning point for British gays, and was a step towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967.

The 75-minute programme Consenting Adults , commissioned by BBC Drama for Lion Television Scotland and BBC Four, will feature Charles Dance as Wolfenden and Sean Biggerstaff as his son Jeremy.

Charles Dance was last seen in BBC dramas Bleak House and Fingersmith . Sean Biggerstaff starred as Oliver Wood in the Harry Potter films.

The film will examine the debate within the Wolfenden committee over homosexuality, using transcripts from the original committee hearings.

The drama will also explore the conflict between Wolfenden, who believed that homosexuality was “an abomination”, and his son, who he knew was gay.

Richard Fell, executive producer for the drama for BBC Four, told

“The Wolfenden Report was the turning point in the legalisation of homosexuality in this country.

“What is much lesser known is that Wolfenden himself struggled with his own feelings of shame and fear in finding out his son was gay.

“Julian Mitchell’s script beautifully uncovers the highly controversial findings of the Committee alongside the troubled relationship between father and son.”

Consenting Adults was commissioned by Jane Tranter, controller at BBC Fiction, and Janice Hadlow, controller at BBC Four, and will be directed by Richard Curson-Smith.

It was produced by Robert Dawson-Scott and executive produced by Colin Cameron for Lion Television Scotland and Richard Fell for BBC Four.

Colin Cameron, managing director of Lion Television Scotland, told that the programme “not only focuses on the ground-breaking work of the Wolfenden Committee, but will unravel the highly charged conflict between the realms of public and private, moral and professional judgement, and the relationship between father and son.”

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