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Channel 4 to mark 50 years of UK Pride with season of TV specials

Revellers take part in the Pride London parade on Regent Street (PA)
Revellers take part in the Pride London parade on Regent Street (PA)

Nick Grimshaw and Rylan Clark will feature in Channel 4’s bumper season of TV specials and documentaries to mark 50 years since the first Pride march took place in the UK.

The radio DJ and TV presenter will film a Pride anniversary episode of Celebrity Gogglebox alongside other British LGBTQ+ personalities.

Two documentaries commissioned to reflect on the last 50 years for the LGBTQ+ community will also air around the anniversary of the first UK Pride rally in London on July 1 1972.

Nick Grimshaw
Nick Grimshaw will feature in a Pride edition of Celebrity Gogglebox (Ian West/PA)

One of the documentaries, with the working title of 50 Years Of Pride, will explore the history of the movement in the UK through first-person testimonies and archive footage.

Made in collaboration with Oscar-nominated filmmaker Stephen Daldry and playwright Joe Robertson, the film will hear from those who faced hostility and discrimination in the early years of the movement.

It will also feature people from the younger generations who have always had Pride celebrations as part of their life and identity.

Another programme, provisionally titled April Ashley, will focus on one of the UK’s most prominent transgender women.

Ashley, who died last year at the age of 86, was a model and dancer who received an MBE for services to equality and was involved in the landmark divorce trial Corbett v Corbett.

The film will “take the audience inside the intimate reality of the transgender experience” and explore how Ashley “paved the way for future generations of transgender people”, Channel 4 said.

Rylan Clark will share his views alongside his mother on Pride Gogglebox
Rylan Clark will share his views alongside his mother on Pride Gogglebox (Lia Toby/PA)

Another two-part documentary scheduled for later in the year will explore how pop star George Michael risked his career by speaking openly about his sexuality after being outed as gay.

The piece, with a working title of Outed: George Michael And The Fight For Freedom, will feature other public figures whose sexuality was revealed by the media.

Grimshaw and his niece Liv, Rylan and his mother Linda, and comedian Paul Sinha and his husband Oliver will be among stars joining Celebrity Gogglebox.

There will also be compilations of Naked Attraction and First Dates celebrating some of the memorable LGBTQ+ contributors across those shows.

Channel 4 said its line-up will “reflect on the incredible achievements and challenges of advancing LGBTQ+ rights and visibility over the last half century, while also platforming the diversity of identity and sexuality in the 2020s”.

George Michael in concert – Birmingham
A new Channel 4 documentary will explore how George Michael handled his sexuality being revealed (Ryan Phillips/PA)

The broadcaster has been behind a number of LGBTQ+ focused shows including It’s A Sin, the Russell T Davies series about the UK’s HIV/Aids crisis in the 1980s which has been nominated for 11 Bafta TV awards.

Louisa Compton, who as head of news, current affairs, specialist factual and sport, is overseeing the Pride season for the channel, said: “Channel 4 has been responsible for more outstanding LGBTQ+ content over its 40 years than any other public service broadcaster – often commissioning content others wouldn’t touch, from award-winning dramas It’s A Sin, Queer As Folk, and Brookside to innovative factual stories including Football’s Coming Out, Genderquake, and Hollyoaks: Gay Dads Forever.

“It only seems fitting that at this important moment for LGBTQ+ history in the UK we do what we’ve always done, double down on our commitment to agenda-setting programming with exciting new commissioning and All 4 firsts.

“The announcement today is only the start of the Channel’s year-round Pride celebration – plenty more to come in due course.”

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