Big Gay Wedding host Tom Allen says LGBTQ+ rights must ‘never’ be taken for granted

Comedian and TV presenter Tom Allen hopes his new film Big Gay Wedding with Tom Allen will encourage queer people to “never take for granted” the rights won by the community.

To mark the ten-year anniversary of the UK’s first same-sex marriage on 29 March 2014, The Apprentice: You’re Fired host Tom Allen fronts Big Gay Wedding with Tom Allen on Wednesday night (27 march) at 9pm on BBC One.

The one-off film follows Brighton-based couple Adam and Dan as Allen attempts to arrange their dream wedding with a little help from his famous friends, including “Murder on the Dance Floor” hitmaker Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Strictly Come Dancing icon Oti Mabuse, and Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite.

Alongside acting as Adam and Dan’s wedding fairy godmother, Allen goes on a journey through history to uncover the long and difficult journey towards marriage equality in the UK, speaking with activists and politicians who fought for gay couples to get down the aisle.


2023 marked the 10th anniversary of #samesexmarriage🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈 being legalised in England and Wales, and this month marks exactly a decade since the first wedding took place. To celebrate the momentous occasion, comedian, presenter and writer #TomAllen is pulling out all the stops to arrange a dream wedding for one gay couple. He enlists the help of celebrity friends including dancer Oti Mabuse, stylist Nick Hems, baker John Whaite and iconic M*rder on the Dancefloor songstress Sophie Ellis-Bextor, who assist with everything from the entertainment to the outfits. As Tom helps the lucky couple arrange the wedding of the year, he reveals the extraordinary story of the fight for equal marriage, meeting the #LGBTQ + trailblazers who helped make this day possible including Sandi Toksvig, Peter Tatchell, Lynn Sutcliffe and Sarah Hews. He also meets some of the political figures who were instrumental in the passing of the bill, including Dame Angela Eagle, Lynne Featherstone, and Lord David Cameron. Big Gay Wedding with Tom Allen will air on BBC One and IPlayer at 9pm on Wednesday (27 March). #gaywedding #marriage #section28 #lgbtqhistory

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Speaking to PinkNews, Allen explained why he thinks the film is a necessity in the current political climate, and how it acts as a reminder that the fight isn’t yet won for LGBTQ+ people.

“It’s a message essentially of positivity and hope and what can be achieved when people work together,” he shared.

Dan and Adam are the gay couple featured in BBC film Big Gay Wedding with Tom Allen.
Dan and Adam are the gay couple featured in BBC film Big Gay Wedding with Tom Allen. (BBC)

“I think our politics has become so tired and exhausting for lots of people; this shows what happens when people come together and listen to each other. It shows what happens when people who’ve been fighting for a long time for a voice for something are finally listened to.”

As part of the programme, Allen also speaks about his own experience of growing up gay in the shadow of the AIDS crisis and Margaret Thatcher’s reviled Section 28 law, which banned the so-called ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in school.

“I’m still understanding how pernicious that Section 28 legislation was, and the wider attitudes of society before that – how punishing they were to anybody who wasn’t straight essentially, and how that got into a lot of our minds,” Allen said.

Tom Allen in Big Gay Wedding with Tom Allen. (BBC)
Tom Allen in Big Gay Wedding with Tom Allen. (BBC)

“I think it affected so many of us at the time, before the time and even now – I still feel it sometimes, feeling pained that I don’t have the straightforward narrative that straight friends of mine perhaps have enjoyed.”

While much of Big Gay Wedding is joyous viewing and a simple story of love, it’s also a reminder of what is left to fight for in the UK when it comes to queer equality.

“I think we should never take it for granted, the rights that we enjoy and the equality that we pursue and we should never take the granted what has been fought by our forebears,” Allen stated.

Allen shared his desire for the film to act as a pillar of hope for activists still on the frontlines, battling against rising anti-LGBTQ+ hostility.

“I think there’s still lots of fights to be won,” he said. “I hope that this offers a structure or a hope for people who [are] fighting in terms of for trans rights, who are fighting for trans people to still be completely included in marriage legislation. It’s not completely equal across [the board] for everybody.”

Tom Allen pictured on the red carpet at an event.
Tom Allen. (Getty)

While progress has “shifted” for queer people in the UK, Allen also recognised that’s not so true everywhere. “It isn’t the case that we’re allowed to even exist in certain parts of the world,” he added.

For Allen, one of the most rewarding parts of the film was seeing how the happy couple Dan and Adam embraced themselves fully in their outlandish ideas for their wedding.

“I think sometimes as queer people we’re made to feel like we should hide ourselves, and the exuberance and extravagance of their wedding for me really I suppose was like, ‘Actually we don’t have to hide – we can be a hundred percent yourself,” Allen reflected.

“Their wedding cake looks so wonderful; they’ve had these really epic ideas about [their wedding] and I was like, ‘Oh, OK, good luck,’ – and then we made it happen.”

Big Gay Wedding with Tom Allen airs on BBC One on Wednesday 27 March at 9pm GMT. It will then be available on BBC iPlayer.

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