PinkNews Awards 2018: A Very English Scandal wins Drama award

BBC’s A Very English Scandal has won the Drama prize at the PinkNews Awards 2018.

The three-part series, which starred Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw, triumphed over Netflix’s Black Lightning, Channel 4’s Ackley Bridge and Humans, ITV’s Coronation Street, and Channel 5’s Neighbours to take home the honour.

Read more: The complete list of winners of the PinkNews Awards 2018

The new award, which celebrates a TV series that has significantly represented issues affecting the LGBT+ community, was presented by Liberal Democrats leader Vince Cable and Britain’s 2018 Eurovision Song Contest entry, SuRie.

The drama triumphed over several other nominees (BBC)

Director Stephen Frears told the crowd: “Bollocks to Brexit” while accepting the award.

A Very English Scandal told the true story of bisexual politician Jeremy Thorpe and his younger lover Norman Scott, who Thorpe allegedly tried to have killed to save his professional and personal reputation.

Thorpe, the then-leader of the Liberal Party, was put on trial over the allegations, which rocked British politics in the 1970s, at a time when being revealed as gay could be life-ruining.

Thorpe (played by Hugh Grant) and Scott (Ben Whishaw) had reportedly been lovers in the 1960s, before homosexuality was partially decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967.

The show introduced many viewers to the Thorpe affair (BBC)

In May, Grant told PinkNews: “I think he [Thorpe] was very very tormented. When you feel your family’s threatened we’re all capable—however privileged or genteel—of surprising violence.”

The programme saw off a challenge from British drama Ackley Bridge, which portrays the lives of staff and students at the titular multicultural academy.

It was praised last year for its portrayal of British-Pakistani Muslim character Nas coming out as a lesbian, and again in July when she got into a lesbian romance with Sam.

Fellow nominee Black Lightning, which airs in the US on The CW, hit TV screens in January.

Thunder in action (The CW)

The titular superhero Black Lightning has two daughters: Lightning and the openly lesbian medical student Thunder, who is played by Nafessa Williams.

Speaking to PinkNews in June, Williams said: “A black, queer superhero character? We’ve never seen it before. And hopefully, this is the shift for many more queer characters in TV and film.”

Long-running British soap Coronation Street has been lauded over the years for its portrayal of LGBT+ people and their relationships.

However, this year the drama stood-out for drawing attention to the issue of male sexual assault, by including a storyline around the rape of hairdresser David by newcomer Josh, and highlighting the experiences of lesbian Muslims through Rana Haweb.

The soap showed Haweb having a relationship with her best friend Kate Connor.

Humans had an LGBT+ storyline starring Astrid (Bella Dayne) and Niska (Emily Berrington) during the show’s second season, with the characters striking up a same-sex relationship and overcoming countless cultural hurdles to stay together.

And on Channel 5, Neighbours featured a momentous event with the first gay wedding on Australian TV since the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the country.

Matt Wilson, Magda Szubanski and Takaya Honda (Neighbours)

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn attended the event at Church House in central London, along with Celebrity Big Brother winner Shane Jenek aka Courtney Act, singer and PinkNews Award nominee Will Young and BBC broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire, among other stars.

The PinkNews Awards is supported by Lloyds Banking Group.