Brian Sewell, What A Terribly Ridiculous Human Being You Are At Times

Brian, Brian, Brian. Seriously, what the fuck? Today, on the Daily Mail website there is an article by art critic Brian Sewell stating that the British soap opera “Coronation Street” is too gay. Isn’t it a little early in the day for this much self-loathing?

After a casual bit of misogyny in his opening gambit, Sewell gets right down to business. Before I go any further I think it’s worth congratulating the Daily Mail on finding a self-loathing gay man to spew these opinions. You can almost hear the internal thought processes of the top-tier people at the Daily Mail: “if we get a homosexual to slag off the Corrie gays we can’t POSSIBLY be accused of peddling more homophobia.” Well actually, it turns out you can.

For starters, Sewell seems to have a stunted perception of the North. It’s like he believes that it hasn’t evolved over the years and is stuck in a 1950s time-warp. I think it’s very revealing that he refers to Lowry’s work when describing Coronation Street; if there are no ferrets, flat caps or wide-spread poverty it can’t be realistically portraying the North, can it, Brian?

“Today, all the characters are showered, prinked and perfumed — particularly the men …. and the clothes are straight from Primark, Next and Topshop.”

How dare Northern people wash! HOW VERY DARE THEY!

“This Coronation Street is not good old grubby Lancashire, but just a turning away from Footballers’ Wives — a fantasy world of a working class with money to burn.”

Aside from the hilarious mental image of Brian Sewell watching Tanya & Amber’s baby-swapping shenanigans, people with “money to burn” I would suspect generally don’t fill their wardrobe with Primark’s “best”. It’s like he’s thought to himself, “Oh, what’s the name of that department store that those common folk frequent with their patronage? Ah, yes! Primark.” *dips quill into ink well, carries on writing*

The North, 2011, as perceived by Brian Sewell

Anyway, on to the good shit.

“Is it true that the lives of heterosexual Mancunians are haplessly intertwined with transvestites, transsexuals, teenage lesbians and a horde of homosexuals across the age range? Is Manchester now the Sodom of the North?”

Sewell seems to imply that either there are no gays up North, or it’s awash with them; sorry, no middle ground here. Nope.

While he makes a valid point about minorities understandably favouring their ilk, I think it’s a warped perception to say there is now “rather too much [gaiety]” on “Coronation Street”. Now I must hold my hands up here and say that soaps aren’t really my thing, and when I have watched them I prefer them to be more like the ridiculous escapism of “Sunset Beach” than “Coronation Street”. However, assuming that Mr Sewell is a regular watcher of “Coronation Street”, as opposed to some bigot at the Daily Mail poking him with a stick and instructing him to write this article after handing him a flash card with a few names on, then surely he would realise the gays are not “wall-to-wall”?

From his article, he cites a lesbian couple (Sophie Webster and Sian Powers), a gay couple (Sean Tully and Marcus Dent) and one transsexual character (Hayley Cropper). That’s five, count them, five whole characters from the LGBT community included in the main cast. Now, according to the list of current, regular cast members at Wikipedia, there are currently 54 main cast members. Now for the Maths bit (don’t all fall asleep at once):

(5/54) x 100 = 9%

That is to say there is currently a whopping 9% of the “Coronation Street” cast that is from the LGBT community. I don’t wish to get hysterical, but as Mr Sewell himself states, the LGBT community of the UK is around 6% and as you can see, unless your Australian, 6 does not look like 9. Those politically correct bastards at ITV are throwing a whole three percent more gayness in our collective faces every time this soap airs; it is an abomination to have such flagrant wall-to-wall gayness on a tea time show. Utterly despicable. Won’t someone PLEASE think of the children?!

I’m ignoring, not conveniently but rather accurately, his mention of the transvestite character as this is nothing to do with the wall-to-wall gayness that Sewell is getting so worked up about here. You can be heterosexual and a transvestite, in fact, most of the transvestites I have been aware of have been entirely of the heterosexual persuasion. Nice try, Brian. Nice try.

He goes on to say that all this gayness is somehow offensive, that anything even slightly drifting away from the asexual, queenie minstrel of characters like Mr Humphries in the BBC sitcom “Are You Being Served?” is automatically grounds for post-watershed viewing. Apparently, once you start portraying the gays in normal relationships, you know, like actual human beings, then this will make a kid’s head explode; so to preserve all that is honest and true, we must be kept strictly for viewing from 9pm onwards .

He builds a straw man argument, quite rightly identifying the late 90s drama “Queer As Folk” as controversial, explicit and adult in nature, however the mere introduction of a homosexual relationship in to a soap is, in reality, no different to having the presence of a heterosexual relationship, and human relationships are the very foundation of all soaps.

“If the audience … is happy for the street to swarm with gloomy lesbians and happy homosexuals … then it must be broadcast after the watershed.”

The only difference is the two people involved are of the same sex rather than the opposite sex. That’s it. There’s no other difference. The sexual practices may be slightly different due to basic mechanics, but I wasn’t aware that explicit sex scenes were now par for the course on tea time soaps.

It is utterly insane, though sadly unsurprising, that newspapers such as the Daily Mail, pedal this kind of hateful rubbish. In such a wide-reaching publication you would like to think they would act more responsibly when commissioning and publishing articles such as these. Spouting this sort of drivel, effectively relegating the gay community to a strictly post-watershed time slot means that we are to be seen and not heard, thus denying LGBT teenagers coming to terms with their sexuality easy access to relatable faces on their favourite shows.

Many families watch soaps like “Coronation Street” together, and I think it’s a good way of introducing viewers to gay people who may not otherwise encounter them; some (a Daily Mail reader) may call this pushing the gay agenda, but all those people should be let in on a little secret and there’s no need to hack my phone, I’m going to tell you it for free. Here’s our agenda, it has one point on it, in fact just one word: equality; is it really too much to ask to be treated like a human being, just like everybody else? See you next Tuesday, Brian!


16 thoughts on “Brian Sewell, What A Terribly Ridiculous Human Being You Are At Times

  1. Oh God, this is brilliant. And I know this totally detracts from all the very awesome arguments you posit in this fantasically spot-on piece of writing, but when I read “unless your Australian, 6 does not look like 9” I did one of those big barky laughs that are entirely inappropriate for the office. GOOD WORK.


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  3. Great piece, but I think your maths is wonky. Showing 9% gaiety rather than the national average 6% is actually a whopping 50% above the correct figure. (9 – 6 = 3… 3 = 50% of 6). Don’t tell the Daily Male… sorry Mail


    1. EJ

      I hear what you’re saying, but I was looking at it from the point of view that it was a mere 3% difference, rather than it being 50% more gayness than the national average. It’s the problem with, and the ambiguity of statistics, that you can read and portray them any way you like to suit your purposes.

      Ultimately, Brian Sewell is still a muppet for writing his article, I think we can all agree on that front, no?


  4. I’d like to know what the statistics are for homicidal maniacs living on streets in t’north are? I mean as far as I am aware my street in the north of the north does not have ANY. Not a one. And yet Coronation Street that bastion of Northern goodness has had what **counts…… loses count** blooming loads is the answer. Totally an inaccurate reflection of crime if you ask me. Think of the children growing up in fear that’ll they’ll not be able to walk down the streets without being murdered (of course the other side is that all children in groups are gangland thuggish brutes and therefore so scary that no one is on the streets – poetic justice for the wee darlings. They can just sit and play their gameboys)


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  6. Ali

    Coronation Street’s supposed location is a few hundred feet from Canal Street. If anything, you’d expect to see *more* than 9% LGBT characters!


  7. John Carabini

    Mr Sewer and his kind exist in that dusty 1930’s world where homosexuality was a crime. In his case though it seems odd to me that a man who doesn’t appear to have a butch bone in his entire decaying body! Part of what makes a good soap is that it reflects reality and entertains, The Street has been doing this for the last 50 years! I’m not going to educate this paragon of artistic talent on the difference between transgender and transvesticism, surely he is aware that his Mail cronies practice the latter? Wake up Brian, we dont have to hide anymore! Perhaps your bitterness reflects the fact that any happy, sparkly, and shining homo wouldn’t look twice at you? If they ever did!


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