Ben Whishaw reflects on ‘blatant homophobia’ as new BBC drama tells gay doctor’s true story

Ben Whishaw

Ben Whishaw’s role in This Is Going To Hurt made him reflect on the “blatant homophobia” he faced as a young, gay man.

Whishaw stars in the BBC dark comedy series released this month, based on former doctor Adam Kay’s best-selling book of the same name, which was published in 2017 and chronicles his time working in the NHS.

The story is set in the mid 2000s, a time Whishaw, 41, remembers well.

The series shows how Kay worked hard to hide his same-sex relationship from those around him, and speaking to Esquire, Whishaw recalled: “This is set in 2006, which isn’t that long ago, but it was different in terms of how gay people were accepted.

“I remember blatant homophobia: people shouting at you, throwing s**t at you and trying to start a fight with you. It was common, normal.

“I’m not saying that doesn’t happen anymore because sadly I hear about it, but it definitely started to get a bit better.”

Ben Whishaw tied the knot with partner Mark Bradshaw in 2012

In 2012, Ben Whishaw entered into a civil partnership with Mark Bradshaw, an Australian-born composer who he met during the filming of the Keats biopic Bright Star. 

But the actor has previously described his struggle coming to terms with his sexuality. 

Speaking to The Sunday Times Magazine in 2019, he explained that he had had therapy in his 20s, which “really did help”.

“There was a moment in my early twenties when I did not feel very good about myself,” he said.

“It was to do with my sexuality and not knowing how to be myself and hating myself. I did know, I just couldn’t tell anyone.”

Whishaw was previously extremely private when it came to his personal life, and only publicly discussed his coming out in 2014.

In 2011, he told Out: “As an actor you have total rights to privacy and mystery, whatever your sexuality, whatever you do.

“I don’t see why that has to be something you discuss openly because you do something in the public eye.”