History

First kiss!

By @pridematters1

There has been a few misunderstanding on the first kisses of the LGBTQIA community on British TV over the years. 

The first kiss was earlier than most people believe. It was actually in 1974.


Above: It was thought the film was lost forever but in 2016 an enhanced copy was released. BBC’s policy in the 1970’s was to destroy any film after being aired. 

The thirty minute drama was called Girl and was a love story between two female members of the armed forces. The kiss was between a young  Alison Steadman and Myra Francis.

Above: A more recent photo of Alison Steadman. Most will recognise her from the comedy series Gavin and Stacey.

Above: The daughter of Winston Churchill, Baroness Soames.

The radio times received many letters of complaints at the time, however one that stood out was one of ‘reassurance’ from Baroness Soames.

“I can assure any reader that where these cases do exist they are speedily dealt with and the girls concerned are discharged.”

Using the eyes and heads of someone in 2017 where the world is completely different we can easily see the anti lgbt sentiment in these comments. We need to be aware that this was only seven years after homosexual acts between men was decriminalised, although female acts were never illegal the climate was always negative. Almost ninety percent of the population believed homosexuality was a mental illness.

Only in 2000 gay men and women could serve in the armed forces.

As a side note: In 1986 the first male gay kiss was seen on the BBC Soap Eastenders.

The first lesbian kiss in a Soap is always confused as being the first but it wasn’t. However this kiss has a great deal of historic significance and not just in the UK.


Above: Anna Friel and Nicola Stephenson kissed in front of six million viewers in January 1994.
Anna Friel’s, charater, Beth faced many obstacles in the Liverpool based Soap, including domestic abuse. However one scene has found itself in LGBT history and not just in the UK. The kiss was the first lesbian kiss pre-watershed* and in a Soap.

Danny Boyle was aware of its significance in British history and decided to include it in a quick montage of screen kisses in the middle of his now famous opening ceremony at the London Olympics in 2012. Despite the speed of the scene it became the first gay kiss in many countries across the world, including many that homosexuality is illegal.

Crafty move of Mr Boyle.

* UK broadcasting laws are designed to prevent any scene to be broadcasted on TV that is seen as harmful towards children. Pre watershed is before 9pm.
Interesting links:

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/jun/16/bbc-stream-1974-show-girl-alison-steadman-first-lesbian-kiss-uk-television-pride

http://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/680336/Television-first-lesbian-kiss-Alison-Steadman-Girl-BBC-Pride-festival

http://80sactual.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/eastenders-colin-and-barry-gays-in.html?m=1

http://www.afterellen.com/tv/102520-the-london-olympics-opening-ceremony-includes-a-lesbian-kiss-seen-around-the-world

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