In the 1960s, fabulous queer characters were hiding in plain sight on the BBC radio show Round the Horne, which featured two squealing gays speaking in barely-veiled innuendo. They were using a form of gay British slang known as "Polari" that's all but died out today.
Decades later, Tork Shaw would listen to tapes of the episode in the car with this family, and he'd hear something of himself in the bookish, aristocratic, quick-witted gays like Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick on the radio. He didn't quite fit in at school -- everyone around him was sporty and posh -- so he cultivated a caustic wit, modeled on the Round the Horne's Julian and Sandy, Oscar Wilde, and Noel Coward. He was kind of a young-boy version of Downtown Abbey's Dowager Countess. Despite being a small, unathletic kid, his classmates grew a bit scared of him and he was voted "worst bully" in his class.
But by the time he was teenager, he was feeling ready to set that aside. "I didn't want to be mean anymore," he said. "What happens if I let go of everything I've done in the past?"
Well, let's find out on tonight's episode!
Hey, if you're enjoying the show, please give it a rating & review on the iTunes store! You might also enjoy my marriage equality show, Marriage News Watch; or my videos over on the Matt Baume YouTube channel. And let me know your thoughts -- I'm @mattbaume on Twitter.
Here are a few delightful Julian and Sandy segments from Round the Horne on the BBC:
And the show Gimme Gimme Gimme that Tork mentioned:
And though it might be unfamiliar to Americans, here's Kenneth Williams in some Carry On films:
Parisian Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0