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Radio: Victim

Arts | By Valerie Grove


'it is 50 years since the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, and the BBC’s Gay Britannia season included an excellent Radio 3 play by Sarah Wooley about how Victim, a gamble for everyone concerned, got made.'

It was not a great film, but it was an important film. Victim [1961], about a married homosexual barrister blackmailed by a young man, really did break new ground. I remember being horrified and a bit mystified, at 15, seeing the barrister’s garage door spray-painted with the word ‘QUEER’. During filming, Basil Dearden, the director, forbade any mention on set of queers, poofs or nancy boys. The word they should use, he said, was the dictionary definition: ‘inverts’.  Well, it is 50 years since the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, and the BBC’s Gay Britannia season included an excellent Radio 3 play by Sarah Wooley about how Victim, a gamble for everyone concerned, got made.  Several actors turned down the lead role: to play a gay man was regarded as professional suicide. But Dirk Bogarde, at almost 40, happened to be in a career doldrum: Doctor in the House had morphed...


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