Against the Law


Against the Law

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WHISTLING

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DOOR SLAMS SHUT

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Any man who takes a criminal path...

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..should be mindful of the consequences.

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My name is Peter Wildeblood.

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CHEERING

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Order! Order!

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May I ask the Right Honourable Home Secretary

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the number of cases involving male perversion

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this year, and how he intends to deal with this evil?

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Much of my private life has already been made public

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by the newspapers. So I have nothing left to hide.

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Roughly 5,500 offences have been recorded

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and over 600 offenders

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sent to prison.

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I don't pity myself and I do not ask for pity.

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But I am speaking out...

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..to give some hope and courage to other men like myself,

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and to the rest of the world some...

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..understanding.

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I am...a homosexual.

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So as long as I hold office, I shall give no countenance to

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the view that they should not be prevented from being such a danger.

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MUFFLED MUSIC AND CHATTER

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CHATTER AND LAUGHTER

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Whisky, please.

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Thank you.

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INDISTINCT CHATTER

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TRAIN WHISTLE BLOWS

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INDISTINCT RAILWAY ANNOUNCEMENT

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I wonder, could I buy you a drink?

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Doesn't work that way, darling.

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Unless you're willing to play the part.

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Oh, no.

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So you're not a queen, then?

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It's a pity, you're quite pretty, really.

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Not a rough, either.

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I'm a homosexual.

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A what?

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A homosexual.

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Homosexual?

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I see.

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I thought that was just something doctors called us.

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Do all the queens use this word now?

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I don't know.

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I'm not sure I like it.

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Come along, Fanny dear.

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See you later, dear heart.

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Coming, Ducky.

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DOOR CLOSES

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-VOICEOVER:

-At that particular time

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there was a, you might call it a purge,

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on people who were gay.

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We were considered sick.

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We were considered, er, you know, child molesters.

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The police went out of their way to catch you and...and...

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and the Members of Parliament, "This filth and this...

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"This is going to ruin the nation, we must...we must stub it out."

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I can't remember the name of the, erm,

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the Home Secretary at the time, but he was one of the worst.

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David Maxwell Fyfe, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe,

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later Viscount Kilmuir.

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Well, he embodied all the worst attitudes

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of the British Establishment.

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You could be arrested for just looking at somebody...

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..in the street, you know, winking at them or smiling at them.

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And, er, I thought this is mad, this world has gone a bit potty.

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I have to say it made it even more exciting

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because, you know, it is exciting, er, avoiding the police,

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keeping a look out. It's like being a member of an underground sect,

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or something, er, and you get a great kick out of it.

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Wherever you went was liable to be raided...

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..um, whether it was a pub or it was a private drinking club

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or it was a private party.

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And you would have your name and address printed in the paper.

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Oh! Oh, I'm sorry! Oh.

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It's... It's fine.

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Um, do you need directions?

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No.

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No, I'm, erm... I'm just... I'm down off leave from Ely.

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And, er, it's going to rain again.

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Any minute.

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So, um, if you want to stay, there's a sofa,

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which should be perfectly comfortable.

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Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it should.

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Yeah, it's a bit small.

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And besides...

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..you and I could, er, fuck here.

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Live a little.

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HE CHUCKLES

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What?

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"You and I could fuck maybe?"

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What?

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The romance of it.

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Dead romantic.

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That's one of my best lines.

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You heading back to Ely?

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In two days, yep.

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So what do you do?

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I'm a journalist.

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Oh, right. Which paper?

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The Mail.

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Nice.

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Not really. It's... Well, it's quite dull, actually.

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Well, it was nice meeting you.

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I'll, erm, you know?

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Keep in touch. I mean it.

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Do you want me to?

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-Well, yes. I...

-All right, then.

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Being a gay was a very tricky business.

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It was frowned upon by society, it was punishable

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by imprisonment, it was illegal, it was everything you could mention.

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I mean, you couldn't even talk about it. Erm...

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I felt very uncomfortable about it. Certainly.

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If heterosexuals had been subject to the force of law for being

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heterosexual, if their relations had been frowned upon, it's most

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unlikely that they would have settled into long-term marriages.

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They had public opinion and the law behind them.

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In the case of homosexuals, the law

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and public opinion were very distinctly against them, so I think

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the whole climate was opposed to the building of relationships.

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In fact, I think many gay people half believed, because they were

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told so often, that if you were gay you couldn't have a relationship.

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It was a no-no, so I had to be on my own.

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And, erm, so I've been used to it, since...since childhood,

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being a loner. Never enjoyed it, I can tell you, it was awful.

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But that's the way it is.

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KNOCK ON DOOR

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Well, would you look at that. He meant what he said.

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Fancy a kickaround?

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You're joking.

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Not physical, then?

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Not even at school?

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Football? I was useless, always the last to get picked.

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I can imagine, actually.

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I used to just gather with all the other outcasts.

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Teachers despised us for it.

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One of them said, "Oh, yes, there they are.

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"The sops. Sops of a feather flock together."

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Come on.

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-Is that you?

-Oh, stop it!

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We have to be a lot more careful than that.

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I know, I know, I'm...unschooled.

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You're telling me.

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Am I the only poof you know?

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No. I know Edward, Lord Montagu, through my work.

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Smile all you like, Mr Inverted Snob, he is very nice.

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So it's love, then?

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To be honest, I never thought you'd come out of your shell far enough.

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Neither did I.

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What's his appeal?

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He's...confident...

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..physical,

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a bit...dim, sort of.

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I suppose I always thought...

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Go on.

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I thought I'd meet a boy like him

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and he would make me brave, and in return...

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..I would make him wise.

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You're blushing.

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All right, it's stupid, you know, it's comradeship.

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Plato wrote something along those lines, do you know it?

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Two men, very different strengths, but when they come together...

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..an army of such lovers could conquer the world.

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Bring him down to Beaulieu.

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When did you last have a holiday?

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Oh, God. Three, four years ago.

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Bring him down to Beaulieu.

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Hmm.

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Just a small party...

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God, you are such a...

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Live a little.

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Yes?

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MUSIC PLAYS

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INDISTINCT CHATTER

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Well, I think this party is really rather...

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Boring? Boring as fuck?

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Yes. That's about the size of it.

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I thought the aristocracy knew how to let its hair down.

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Uh-uh. You thought wrong.

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What happened to "be careful"?

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No-one about, you daft ape.

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# You took the part that once was my heart

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# So why not take all of me? #

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-Three weeks.

-I know.

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# ..All of me

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# Why not take all of me?

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# Can't you see... #

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You're blossoming, Mr Wildeblood.

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# ..I'm no good without you?

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# Take my lips

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# I want to lose them... #

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TRAIN RUMBLES PAST

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# ..Take my arms

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# I'll never use them

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# Your goodbye

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# Left me with eyes that cry

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# How can I go on, dear, without you? #

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My dearest, darling Eddie, I love you so much.

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# ..You took the best Why not take the rest? #

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There, I've said it.

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# ..Baby, take all of me... #

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In the '50s, homosexuals, erm, were in...

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were in a kind of secret world of their own. It was, erm...

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They were on another, rather delightful planet, in a way.

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It was fabulous, I was doing whatever young people do,

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I wanted to dance, I wanted to have beautiful clothes,

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I wanted to have lots of sex, I wanted somebody to love me.

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It was a world in which there was no class difference at all and

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that, I think, was one of the things which made it very, very attractive.

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Members of the upper classes have always fancied

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members of the lower classes.

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I was never actually particularly attracted to posh boys,

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but I did sometimes meet them if they looked right.

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And...and so I did find myself in the situation

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of mixing with a much wider range of social classes,

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I think, than straight boys of my background would have done.

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There was this strong sense of community within the gay world,

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and that rendered us not impervious

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but able to resist these awful...

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this, how shall I say, this constant barrage of propaganda,

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of depiction of us as being evil.

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THUNDER RUMBLES

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PHONE RINGS

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Wildeblood.

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Peter, it's Edward.

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Oh, hello, Edward.

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Are you alone?

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Yes.

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I'm at the police station.

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I called them about a camera that went missing at my place.

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I was - am - fairly sure it was one of the Boy Scouts

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we have showing the public round on open days.

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That's terrible.

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The Boy Scout made certain... allegations against me.

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False, of course.

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I'm a public figure, Peter. They're trying to make an example of me.

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Well, I thought you should know.

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Yes, thank you, Edward.

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Good luck.

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-NEWS REPORT:

-At Winchester Assizes, the trial of Lord Montagu continues.

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He stands accused of indecently assaulting...

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-NEWS REPORT:

-He took the stand to claim his innocence

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and said he was the victim of a police witch-hunt...

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-NEWS REPORT:

-The news at five o'clock. Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

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was today acquitted of several counts of indecent assault.

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The jury's decision was unanimous and brings to an end

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an acrimonious trial in which Lord Montagu claimed

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to be the victim of a smear campaign.

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When the trial collapsed

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and the public realised that it was all manufactured evidence,

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the general public, erm, did find that, erm, distasteful.

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It made me feel angry, really. I mean, I look back on it

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and thought, yeah, I was quite angry about this rubbish, you know?

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I got quite worked up about it.

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I mean, all gay men throughout...

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throughout the country felt that, and not only gay men

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but the general public, luckily, were feeling that.

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Why is Montagu being harassed like this?

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You know, what is the point?

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It seemed to me, it did turn public opinion against

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all that was going on.

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But, on the other hand, I think there was a kind of feeling among

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the police force that would get him in the end.

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Thank you.

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DOOR CLOSES

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Mm-hm. Oh...

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Mm?

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These letters - who wrote them?

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You know who wrote them.

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I want to hear it from you.

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Give me the dirt on Montagu and his two pals.

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Look, you might lose your job but I'll keep you out of prison.

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KNOCK ON DOOR

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Are you Peter Wildeblood?

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Yes.

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I'm arresting you on charges of gross indecency

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and buggery with certain other male persons.

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Where do you sleep?

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My bedroom is upstairs.

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Anyone up there?

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No.

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Don't you have a warrant?

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Sit down.

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You were in Beaulieu this summer?

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Yes.

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Are these your parents?

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Yes.

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And this one is Edward McNally?

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Is this your handwriting?

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Yes.

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This could go very badly for you.

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Very badly indeed.

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What you should do is make a statement

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and you just get bound over, make a clean breast of things.

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Tell me about Montagu and his chum Pitt-Rivers and all of them,

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-then I think you...

-No. No, I couldn't do that.

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And why not?

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Because...

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Because....

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..sops of a feather flock together.

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Hadn't you heard?

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The ones, for example, who had previous convictions,

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it would be a fair cop, very sorry, plead guilty.

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Those who had never experienced the police intruding would be

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very upset and they were the more likely ones who would plead

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not guilty and challenge every aspect of the observations.

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I still say it was an inherent weakness, and still is.

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They went into these practices knowing that there's a great

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element of risk of being arrested, being exposed,

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if you'll pardon the expression.

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Three or four weeks after I met Lee, I realised without doubt

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that he was the one person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

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I wrote him a long letter telling him of my feelings for him

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and my hopes for us. I thought

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he'd be so pleased about this letter and I couldn't believe it,

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he was so angry. I said, "What's the matter?" He said,

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"Well, the letter you sent to me

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"could have landed us both in prison."

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I was 14 years old and I had a boyfriend

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and he had written me a letter, very stupidly,

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and I had dropped the letter

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and my father said, "What's this?"

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I can remember him now,

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God bless him,

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"I'm having no son of mine a queer, you're going to the doctor."

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So I was taken down to the doctor, who said, "You've got a disease."

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This is great. "You've got a disease."

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I never accepted that I had an illness.

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I accepted that I preferred

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to go to bed with a man rather than a woman. I didn't see that

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as an illness, but I did see it as something that you kept to yourself,

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because of... because of the implications,

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because of the consequences if you didn't.

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You are each charged with gross indecency,

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buggery, attempted buggery, aiding and abetting buggery,

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procuring male persons for acts of gross indecency,

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and conspiracy to incite male persons to commit gross indecency.

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To each of these charges, how do you, Edward Montagu, plead?

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Not guilty.

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To each of these charges, how do you, Michael Pitt-Rivers, plead?

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Not guilty.

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And to each of these charges, how do you, Peter Wildeblood, plead?

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Not guilty.

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KEY RATTLES IN LOCK

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All right?

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I've been better.

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Right.

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The form is, basically we deny everything,

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none of us are queer,

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we've never dabbled, never even been tempted.

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Right?

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It's very hard to prove.

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Love on a page means nothing.

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I thought we'd be all right.

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We were discreet.

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-Why are they doing this?

-Just stay calm, Peter.

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The case for the prosecution begins with Wildeblood.

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In March 1952, Wildeblood met an RAF corporal in Piccadilly.

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His name is McNally and he'll be called as a witness.

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McNally is a pervert. Wildeblood took him back to his flat

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and there committed an offence, namely buggery, with this McNally.

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McNally had a friend called John Reynolds, also a queer.

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You've probably heard of that term.

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Wildeblood was a friend of Lord Montagu.

0:33:100:33:14

Mention was made to Lord Montagu of this John Reynolds,

0:33:140:33:17

introductions were arranged, offences against Reynolds

0:33:170:33:21

were committed by Montagu at Wildeblood's flat in London,

0:33:210:33:25

and on a trip to Beaulieu, joined by Michael Pitt-Rivers,

0:33:250:33:29

an orgy took place.

0:33:290:33:31

McNally and Reynolds are men of the lowest possible moral character.

0:33:330:33:37

Taken under the seductive influence of lavish hospitality of

0:33:390:33:44

these three men so infinitely their social superiors,

0:33:440:33:48

they were willing parties to unnatural acts.

0:33:480:33:51

It would be dangerous to convict any of the defendants

0:33:510:33:55

purely on the evidence of men such as McNally and Reynolds.

0:33:550:33:58

We hope to satisfy you by letters,

0:33:580:34:00

and other documents, that there is copious confirmation that

0:34:000:34:04

the story these men, Reynolds and McNally, are telling is true.

0:34:040:34:09

And on that date in December,

0:34:190:34:21

when you attended his property, did you see Wildeblood?

0:34:210:34:24

He came to the door.

0:34:240:34:26

Where did you go with him?

0:34:260:34:27

To the living room.

0:34:270:34:29

Did you suggest to him that he write a statement?

0:34:290:34:31

No, sir.

0:34:310:34:32

Did you promise him that if he write a statement he'd just be bound over?

0:34:320:34:36

-I did not.

-And the letters you showed him,

0:34:360:34:39

he recognised these as letters written by himself and McNally?

0:34:390:34:43

Indeed he did, sir.

0:34:430:34:45

I didn't think this could happen in Britain.

0:34:490:34:52

I didn't think the police...

0:34:520:34:53

Well, now you know.

0:34:530:34:55

The rotten apples aren't the odd ones out, Peter.

0:34:560:34:59

They're bastards. Jesus.

0:35:040:35:07

Try to stay calm.

0:35:070:35:08

You're next, McNally.

0:35:180:35:19

Call Edward McNally.

0:35:230:35:25

You are Edward McNally?

0:35:510:35:54

Yes.

0:35:540:35:55

-Do you know the accused, Peter Wildeblood?

-Yes.

0:35:550:35:59

Look at the accused and confirm that he is the man known to you.

0:35:590:36:03

When you spent the night at his flat, where did you sleep?

0:36:050:36:09

In the bedroom with Wildeblood.

0:36:090:36:11

Did anything occur between you?

0:36:110:36:13

We committed buggery with each other.

0:36:150:36:18

Did you write this letter to him, exhibit 44?

0:36:190:36:23

Yes.

0:36:270:36:29

"Dearest Peter, I've really got it bad, sweetheart.

0:36:290:36:33

"In fact, I haven't felt so happy for a long time.

0:36:330:36:36

"Just to let you know, I haven't forgotten you

0:36:360:36:39

"and I never will." Did you mean those words?

0:36:390:36:43

I thought I did, sir.

0:36:440:36:46

Were you what you would describe as "in love" with Peter Wildeblood?

0:36:460:36:50

Yes, sir.

0:36:530:36:55

Did you receive this letter from him, exhibit 45?

0:36:550:36:58

Yes.

0:37:020:37:04

"You are so much a part of my life that I do not think

0:37:040:37:07

"I could ever do without you.

0:37:070:37:09

"I love you as much now as I did

0:37:090:37:11

"when we spent our lovely holiday together.

0:37:110:37:14

"The happiest time..."

0:37:140:37:17

Did you believe those words?

0:37:220:37:24

I suppose so, sir.

0:37:240:37:26

Did you believe Peter Wildeblood to be in love with you?

0:37:260:37:30

Yes, sir.

0:37:320:37:34

Why did he do this to me?

0:37:480:37:50

Why did Eddie do this?

0:37:520:37:55

You know why he did it.

0:37:550:37:56

To save his own skin.

0:37:580:38:00

Forget him.

0:38:040:38:06

I joined the Navy ten days before my 17th birthday.

0:38:240:38:27

It was on HMS Reggio that I was,

0:38:300:38:34

um, er, to put it...crudely...

0:38:340:38:40

caught in the act.

0:38:400:38:42

I was, er, court martialled, charged with

0:38:420:38:46

buggery and gross indecency, then I was asked to give

0:38:460:38:52

the names of the people with whom I had slept

0:38:520:38:55

or had anything to do with, and was told, "If you tell us their names,

0:38:550:39:02

"you're looking at 12 months.

0:39:020:39:05

"If you don't tell us their names, you're looking at five years."

0:39:050:39:10

I gave them the name of an Army officer with whom

0:39:120:39:16

I had spent a night ashore.

0:39:160:39:19

They found him, and one day the warder, screw,

0:39:230:39:29

came in and said, "The chap's blown his brains out."

0:39:290:39:32

And that is something which I've had to live with...

0:39:340:39:39

..for over 60 years.

0:39:410:39:44

Erm, it is still...

0:39:470:39:50

I hate myself for it...

0:39:520:39:54

..but it was just one of those things.

0:39:550:39:57

Call Peter Wildeblood.

0:40:050:40:07

DOOR OPENS

0:40:070:40:09

Place your right hand on the Bible,

0:40:250:40:27

take the card in your other hand and read the statement.

0:40:270:40:30

"I swear to tell the truth,

0:40:300:40:32

"the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

0:40:320:40:35

Counsel for the defence.

0:40:400:40:42

-Is your name Peter Wildeblood?

-Yes.

0:40:440:40:48

Are you a homosexual, Mr Wildeblood?

0:40:490:40:52

Yes, I am.

0:40:540:40:56

Thinking back to July 1952,

0:41:000:41:03

how would you describe your relationship with Edward McNally?

0:41:030:41:08

I'd become fond of him.

0:41:090:41:12

He is not educated but he is intelligent.

0:41:140:41:18

My work made me live in a kind of way I didn't much enjoy

0:41:180:41:23

and I liked to be able to relax with someone who is quite simple,

0:41:230:41:27

unpretentious and fond of me.

0:41:270:41:30

What kind of letters was he writing to you?

0:41:300:41:34

They were emotional letters.

0:41:340:41:36

They contained endearments of an unusual kind

0:41:360:41:39

for two men to exchange.

0:41:390:41:41

And you wrote similar letters to him?

0:41:410:41:44

I was extremely lonely at that time.

0:41:440:41:47

You are familiar with what happened to Oscar Wilde?

0:41:480:41:51

Oscar Wilde was accused of gross indecency.

0:41:510:41:54

I have never committed gross indecency nor buggery with anybody.

0:41:540:41:59

-You never committed these offences with Edward McNally?

-No.

0:41:590:42:03

Mr Wildeblood, when you went into this box,

0:42:110:42:13

-you took the oath in solemn form, you realise that?

-Yes.

0:42:130:42:16

To tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

0:42:160:42:20

Yes.

0:42:200:42:21

You know that we've heard McNally,

0:42:210:42:23

your friend of some 21 months, describe in detail

0:42:230:42:26

what took place between you and him. You've heard the letters

0:42:260:42:30

sent by you to him during this time read out in this court.

0:42:300:42:33

-Do you still say you've told the whole truth?

-I do.

0:42:330:42:37

Have you any suggestion, then, as to why McNally would tell such

0:42:390:42:43

wicked lies about you?

0:42:430:42:45

Well, I should have thought his motive was perfectly obvious.

0:42:450:42:49

He did it to save his own skin.

0:42:490:42:51

Were you attracted to McNally?

0:42:510:42:54

I was not physically attracted to him.

0:42:540:42:56

How do you say you were attracted to him, then?

0:42:560:42:59

-Emotionally.

-Emotionally?

0:42:590:43:01

This McNally was very much your social inferior. Why then...

0:43:020:43:07

During the war, I fought alongside men from many different backgrounds.

0:43:070:43:11

I don't recall anyone objecting then.

0:43:110:43:13

Before God, I entirely commend that sentiment, Mr Wildeblood,

0:43:130:43:17

but what the jury may wish to know is this.

0:43:170:43:19

Why would you, a highly intelligent man, a beautiful writer,

0:43:200:43:26

want to spend 21 months

0:43:260:43:28

of his life with an uneducated RAF corporal from the pits of Glasgow?

0:43:280:43:34

That night in Piccadilly when you met, did you smile at each other?

0:43:370:43:41

I cannot remember.

0:43:440:43:46

When you got into conversation, did a smile pass between you?

0:43:460:43:49

I should think possibly, yes.

0:43:490:43:50

-And you took him back to your flat?

-He had nowhere to go.

0:43:500:43:53

-Resisted all temptation?

-Yes.

0:43:530:43:54

Didn't even kiss him?

0:43:540:43:56

No, I did not.

0:43:560:43:57

You never felt the need for physical expression of a healthy,

0:43:590:44:04

emotional young man?

0:44:040:44:06

I was incapable of sexual expression.

0:44:060:44:09

Incapable?

0:44:090:44:11

-Have you consulted a doctor?

-No.

0:44:140:44:16

"Dearest Peter, I've really got it bad, sweetheart."

0:44:180:44:21

What had he got bad? Love, was it not?

0:44:210:44:23

I don't accept for a moment...

0:44:230:44:25

"In fact, I haven't felt so happy for a long time."

0:44:250:44:27

Because of his friendship with you, yes?

0:44:270:44:30

Because of his friendship with you? Yes?

0:44:310:44:35

Yes.

0:44:350:44:36

"This is being written in bed.

0:44:400:44:42

"Wish you were here. But the RAF have definite views on such things."

0:44:420:44:46

Would a young man write those words to you if you

0:44:490:44:53

and he had not been intimate?

0:44:530:44:55

Well, this young man would.

0:44:550:44:57

"My dearest, darling Eddie,

0:44:570:45:00

"oh, how relieved I was to hear from you at last.

0:45:000:45:03

"You are so much a part of my life that I do not think

0:45:030:45:07

"I could ever do without you." Is that right?

0:45:070:45:09

He was a part of my life.

0:45:110:45:13

"I love you as much now as I did

0:45:130:45:15

"when we spent our lovely holiday together."

0:45:150:45:17

On this holiday, you spent that whole time resisting temptation?

0:45:170:45:20

-Yes.

-What, then, made it so happy for you?

0:45:200:45:23

The friendship, you know, the... the conversation, the...

0:45:230:45:27

..the bathing.

0:45:290:45:31

The weather?

0:45:310:45:33

"All the love I've ever known, P."

0:45:350:45:38

That was all the love I have ever known.

0:45:440:45:47

The arrest must have placed a considerable burden on you?

0:45:480:45:51

If you're born a sexual invert you will always have

0:46:020:46:04

a burden on your soul.

0:46:040:46:07

If there was any way of getting rid of it

0:46:070:46:09

I should only be too pleased

0:46:090:46:12

because it has been a handicap to me

0:46:120:46:14

and led to nothing but loneliness and unhappiness.

0:46:140:46:17

I have no further questions.

0:46:190:46:21

Witness is dismissed.

0:46:220:46:24

To the charge of buggery, do you find

0:46:430:46:45

the defendants guilty or not guilty?

0:46:450:46:48

Guilty.

0:46:500:46:52

To the charge of gross indecency,

0:46:540:46:56

do you find the defendants guilty or not guilty?

0:46:560:47:00

Guilty.

0:47:000:47:02

To the charge of conspiracy to incite male persons to commit

0:47:030:47:06

gross indecency, do you find the defendants guilty or not guilty?

0:47:060:47:11

Guilty.

0:47:110:47:13

To the charge of procuring male persons for acts of gross indecency,

0:47:140:47:18

do you find the defendants guilty or not guilty?

0:47:180:47:21

SPEECH FADES

0:47:210:47:23

-NEWS REPORT:

-The Montagu trial ended today

0:47:520:47:54

with jail terms for all three accused.

0:47:540:47:57

Mr Justice Ormerod passed sentences of 12 months'

0:47:570:48:00

imprisonment on Lord Montagu,

0:48:000:48:01

and 18 months each on Michael Pitt-Rivers and Peter Wildeblood.

0:48:010:48:05

I'd read all about it in the newspapers

0:48:130:48:17

and I thought, "Good God, it's awful."

0:48:170:48:19

They were determined to get verdicts of guilty on the three men

0:48:190:48:23

involved - Montagu, Wildeblood and Michael Pitt-Rivers -

0:48:230:48:27

and they were sent to prison of course, and the two airmen

0:48:270:48:32

who testified against them were given immunity.

0:48:320:48:35

I didn't know how Peter Wildeblood, how he was...

0:48:350:48:38

how the judiciary and the police behaved.

0:48:380:48:41

I didn't understand that and when...

0:48:410:48:43

I mean, when I read it, I was filled with terror.

0:48:430:48:46

This is the kind of stuff that was reality, it was real,

0:48:460:48:49

this is what happened to you if you were gay.

0:48:490:48:52

It was pretty heavy duty, erm, I don't know how it didn't

0:48:520:48:59

deter me completely and, of course, it did deter lots of people.

0:48:590:49:02

There were lots of very unhappy gay people

0:49:020:49:06

really trying hard to be straight.

0:49:060:49:09

Gradually, people were talking. Whereas this had been a taboo,

0:49:090:49:14

now it was a taboo that was being discussed.

0:49:140:49:17

That gave me an edge of hope,

0:49:170:49:20

when I didn't have very much of that around me.

0:49:200:49:23

DOOR SLAMS SHUT

0:50:200:50:22

KNOCKING

0:50:490:50:51

Wildeblood!

0:51:130:51:14

INDISTINCT CHATTER

0:51:380:51:41

I seen you come in.

0:52:040:52:07

You look better in real life than you did in the papers.

0:52:100:52:13

Oh...

0:52:130:52:15

Thank you.

0:52:160:52:17

It looked like you was dead, or something.

0:52:190:52:22

How's your porridge going?

0:52:270:52:28

It's, er, OK, it's going.

0:52:290:52:32

Yours?

0:52:340:52:35

All right.

0:52:370:52:39

Two more years.

0:52:400:52:41

That RAF lad stitched you up proper, didn't he?

0:52:440:52:47

Not on, what he did to you.

0:52:500:52:53

Form up!

0:52:560:52:57

Be seeing you.

0:53:020:53:03

Be seeing you.

0:53:050:53:06

8505, Wildeblood, sir.

0:53:480:53:51

Wildeblood, yes.

0:53:510:53:53

Have you given any thought to what you might do

0:53:530:53:55

when you've finished your sentence?

0:53:550:53:58

I plan to carry on as before, sir.

0:53:580:54:00

Well, you'll certainly be returning to an institution like this

0:54:000:54:03

if you do.

0:54:030:54:05

I meant I shall go on writing.

0:54:050:54:08

I suspect you'll find that rather harder than you imagine.

0:54:080:54:11

Do you know someone called Iris?

0:54:130:54:15

Why, yes, sir.

0:54:160:54:18

Quite a common name in your...circles.

0:54:180:54:21

Iris is a woman, sir.

0:54:230:54:25

Are you willing to undergo medical treatment for your condition?

0:54:260:54:30

Yes, sir.

0:54:300:54:32

And you'll see the psychiatrist in due course.

0:54:320:54:35

That will be all.

0:54:350:54:36

TYPEWRITER KEYS CLACK

0:54:470:54:49

All the things that wants to find me as a man have evaporated...

0:54:490:54:52

..distilled down to a revolting caricature of homosexual man.

0:54:560:55:00

INDISTINCT CHATTER

0:55:100:55:12

Hello again.

0:55:290:55:31

Hello.

0:55:310:55:33

It's rotten how they did you.

0:55:330:55:35

There but for the grace of God, you know.

0:55:350:55:38

-I'm sorry?

-It's people who have a little queer streak of their own

0:55:400:55:44

that does the most damage, if you ask me.

0:55:440:55:47

On the plus side, this place is packed with queers.

0:55:480:55:51

Receiving, mostly.

0:55:510:55:52

MEN LAUGH

0:55:520:55:55

DOOR SLAMS SHUT

0:55:550:55:57

I arrived there with a couple of other prisoners, I think.

0:56:030:56:07

Er, it really did frighten me.

0:56:090:56:11

You had the openly gay people who didn't seem to care

0:56:110:56:15

if anyone knew they were gay.

0:56:150:56:17

They flaunted round in groups, were quite outrageous, effeminate,

0:56:170:56:21

girlie names all the time.

0:56:210:56:23

On the other hand,

0:56:230:56:24

there were the "undercover Marys", as we liked to refer to them.

0:56:240:56:28

Those who had, for one reason or another,

0:56:280:56:30

good reason not to be blatantly gay,

0:56:300:56:33

and there was certainly a certain tension between them.

0:56:330:56:37

The governor said, "We know why you're here, erm...

0:56:370:56:42

"..and I want nothing of a homosexual nature for you

0:56:440:56:50

"to try and take because if you do, you'll be here for ever."

0:56:500:56:54

Being homosexual was such an aberration, terrible,

0:56:540:56:59

worse than anything, worse than a murderer. Much, much worse.

0:56:590:57:03

There were times when one thought,

0:57:030:57:06

will they ever understand that there's nothing unnatural, erm,

0:57:060:57:11

about us at all?

0:57:110:57:13

We're perfectly natural human beings

0:57:130:57:16

with a natural desire for love,

0:57:160:57:19

and it increased one's sense

0:57:190:57:24

of alienation from society as a whole.

0:57:240:57:28

I mean it just destroyed my... my...my...my personality, really.

0:57:280:57:35

I couldn't let my... I couldn't be who I was, so I had nothing.

0:57:370:57:42

BANGING

0:57:480:57:50

TYPEWRITER KEYS CLATTER

0:57:580:58:00

I now know what it is like to be a criminal.

0:58:040:58:08

To know that everything you do will be misunderstood

0:58:110:58:15

or used as evidence against you.

0:58:150:58:18

BANGING

0:58:180:58:20

It makes me fearful of my future, and fear is a terrible emotion.

0:58:250:58:30

It's like a black frost,

0:58:320:58:34

which blights and stunts all the other qualities of a man.

0:58:340:58:38

-Dan, that's really...

-Pick it up, then.

0:59:070:59:10

Got to keep your strength up.

0:59:170:59:19

Pinched it out the garden.

0:59:340:59:36

Make your cell feel a bit more like home.

0:59:380:59:41

RETCHING AND COUGHING

1:01:001:01:02

KNOCK ON DOOR

1:01:101:01:12

Come in.

1:01:121:01:13

Sit down.

1:01:161:01:17

Wildeblood, isn't it?

1:01:211:01:23

Yes, sir.

1:01:231:01:24

Openly homosexual.

1:01:261:01:29

Do you attend the orgies?

1:01:311:01:33

Orgies?

1:01:351:01:36

Yes. In Chelsea and other places?

1:01:361:01:41

Male homosexuals gather together and engage in unnatural practices.

1:01:421:01:47

Really?

1:01:471:01:48

So I'm told.

1:01:481:01:50

I haven't heard of this, sir.

1:01:511:01:54

Does not attend the orgies.

1:01:551:02:00

-You want to be cured?

-Yes, sir.

1:02:041:02:07

Well, there are a number of options.

1:02:071:02:09

I understood that glandular injections or hormone treatment...

1:02:091:02:14

We've tried oestrogen injections on a couple of cases here

1:02:141:02:17

but with no great degree of success.

1:02:171:02:20

One man underwent physical changes of a...a somewhat alarming nature.

1:02:201:02:26

We use aversion therapy.

1:02:271:02:30

How does that...

1:02:301:02:32

Electrical aversion.

1:02:321:02:34

Electrodes fixed to the wrists, calves, feet.

1:02:341:02:38

You'd be told to fantasise,

1:02:381:02:41

watch pictures of men in various states of undress, receive shocks.

1:02:411:02:46

Does it leave...marks?

1:02:481:02:52

They fade after a while.

1:02:521:02:55

Or chemical aversion -

1:02:551:02:58

apomorphine injections - produces nausea, you'll vomit

1:02:581:03:03

then you lie in it,

1:03:031:03:05

no cleaning up allowed. Essential part of the therapy.

1:03:051:03:09

For how long?

1:03:111:03:13

Two days, sometimes three, it depends.

1:03:141:03:17

I shouldn't be here.

1:03:241:03:26

This shouldn't be happening to me.

1:03:281:03:30

You broke the law, Wildeblood.

1:03:301:03:32

Then the law is wrong.

1:03:321:03:35

The two treatments, the kindest one was that you would do...

1:03:581:04:03

you would go to a counsellor, erm, psychologist.

1:04:031:04:07

The, erm, worst one, the worst option, was that you would

1:04:111:04:16

have aversion therapy,

1:04:161:04:19

and aversion therapy, um,

1:04:191:04:24

was probably

1:04:241:04:27

the three worst days of my 67 years on this Earth as a nurse.

1:04:271:04:33

They gave me an injection and I don't know to this day what it was -

1:04:331:04:37

I have been told but I can't remember now - which made me

1:04:371:04:41

feel very queasy and really started to react with inside me,

1:04:411:04:46

and, er, pretty horrendous, and I said, "Excuse me,

1:04:461:04:50

"I think I'm going to be sick."

1:04:501:04:53

He said, "That's fine, just be sick," so I said,

1:04:531:04:56

"Well, could I have a bucket or something or a bowl?"

1:04:561:05:00

"No, just be sick."

1:05:001:05:02

And then started feeling queasy down below and I said,

1:05:021:05:05

"I've got to go to the toilet."

1:05:051:05:07

"Don't worry about it, just do it."

1:05:071:05:08

There was no talk about... about your...what you thought,

1:05:081:05:13

what modern therapy would go into,

1:05:131:05:16

no dialogue between the therapist and you

1:05:161:05:19

with regard to your feelings and so on.

1:05:191:05:21

There was no opportunity to express yourself.

1:05:211:05:24

It was simply...it was simply medical treatments with tablets that

1:05:241:05:28

tried to damp you down.

1:05:281:05:29

And for 72 hours, I... Well, I had nothing left, there was

1:05:291:05:35

no sick coming up, there was no poo coming out, there was nothing.

1:05:351:05:41

There was no water coming out of my penis, there was nothing.

1:05:411:05:45

I was a mental wreck, and this nurse was embarrassed,

1:05:451:05:50

and I can see his face now, just didn't know what to say to me

1:05:501:05:56

and I certainly didn't know what to say to him.

1:05:561:05:59

I can only say to you

1:05:591:06:00

and all those who have had this dreadful treatment,

1:06:011:06:04

as a nurse, I'm sorry that I was complicit in it.

1:06:041:06:10

I can't do any more, I can't undo what's been done.

1:06:111:06:15

I can only say I'm sorry.

1:06:171:06:19

SHRIEKS AND EXCITED CHATTER

1:06:231:06:26

I thought he was going to my bottom off, or something!

1:06:261:06:30

CHATTER AND LAUGHTER CONTINUES

1:06:301:06:32

Absolutely beastly thing!

1:06:361:06:38

I was scarred for life.

1:06:381:06:40

Anyway, I forgot my soap, and I turned round and bent down

1:06:401:06:43

and said, "I can't. She'll go for me right in the derriere!"

1:06:431:06:47

You landed on your feet there, girl.

1:07:061:07:08

He's a lovely bit of stuff. Get right in there.

1:07:081:07:13

Sorry.

1:07:181:07:19

Touched a nerve?

1:07:191:07:22

Your business, I'm sure.

1:07:221:07:24

Seen this?

1:07:271:07:28

-Wolfenden.

-A committee.

1:07:351:07:38

See if they might want to change the law against queers.

1:07:381:07:41

They want people to come forward, have their say.

1:07:411:07:44

There's a few things I could tell them.

1:07:441:07:48

We should all do it, don't you think? Band together.

1:07:481:07:51

No!

1:07:511:07:54

No, we're not the same, you and I!

1:07:541:07:56

I am a homosexual.

1:08:371:08:39

For many years I kept this a secret from my family and friends

1:08:421:08:47

and tried privately to resolve my struggle in a way

1:08:471:08:50

as consistent as possible with moral law.

1:08:501:08:53

I do not believe I ever did any harm to anyone.

1:08:561:08:59

If any harm has been done, the fault lies not with me

1:09:031:09:07

but with those who dragged into the merciless light of publicity

1:09:071:09:11

things which would have been better left in darkness.

1:09:111:09:15

If there is bitterness in my words,

1:09:181:09:21

I hope it will be the bitterness of medicine, not of poison.

1:09:211:09:27

Just before he was imprisoned, he had just bought a house

1:09:351:09:39

not far away from our flat.

1:09:391:09:41

When he came out of prison, his neighbours had put up

1:09:441:09:47

a big notice - "welcome home" -

1:09:471:09:50

and I think that that more than anything

1:09:501:09:53

erm, gave Peter a tremendous encouragement -

1:09:531:09:56

these ordinary local people were accepting him for what he was.

1:09:561:10:02

I must have my say.

1:10:091:10:10

Wolfenden needs to hear the truth.

1:10:121:10:15

I'm trying to get through to Malcolm Starr.

1:10:351:10:38

The Home Office.

1:10:381:10:39

Yes, I can wait.

1:10:421:10:43

I realised, with the setting up of Wolfenden,

1:10:551:10:58

and even before, that there was a change in the air.

1:10:581:11:01

It was the first indication that the law against homosexuality

1:11:051:11:11

might at least be reconsidered, the first glimmer of hope,

1:11:111:11:17

and so we all knew about it, straights and gays.

1:11:171:11:20

May I say, Mr Wildeblood, how very grateful we are to you

1:11:321:11:36

-for finding time to talk to us this afternoon.

-Not at all.

1:11:361:11:41

But I was particularly aware of it because it so happened

1:11:411:11:46

I was having an affair at the time with Jeremy Wolfenden, who was

1:11:461:11:50

the son of Sir John Wolfenden, who was head of the committee.

1:11:501:11:54

You say there are three distinct types of homosexual.

1:11:591:12:04

Yes, the men who regard themselves as women

1:12:041:12:09

through glandular or psychological maladjustment.

1:12:091:12:13

Group A?

1:12:131:12:14

Yes. Group B, pederasts.

1:12:141:12:19

I cannot speak on their behalf.

1:12:211:12:24

I regard them the same way a normal man might regard those

1:12:241:12:28

pederasts who pray on young girls.

1:12:281:12:30

And Group C? Men...like yourself.

1:12:301:12:35

Homosexuals in the strictest sense.

1:12:351:12:38

Adult men who are attracted to other adult men.

1:12:391:12:43

Men who desire to lead their lives with discretion and decency,

1:12:451:12:51

neither corrupting others

1:12:511:12:54

nor publically flaunting their condition.

1:12:541:12:56

We are by far the largest group of homosexuals.

1:12:591:13:02

The discreet homosexual?

1:13:021:13:04

Yes, my lord.

1:13:041:13:06

We seek to find another of our own kind and...

1:13:061:13:10

..if possible, form a permanent attachment in private.

1:13:121:13:18

But the law, as it stands, makes this kind of arrangement

1:13:191:13:23

fraught with risk.

1:13:231:13:25

A promiscuous and temporary liaison is far less likely to provide

1:13:251:13:30

corroborative evidence, letters, that kind of thing, in court

1:13:301:13:33

than an association in which genuine trust and fidelity play a part.

1:13:331:13:39

I see.

1:13:411:13:42

Yes.

1:13:431:13:45

I was going to ask a little more about Group A,

1:13:451:13:49

the glandular category.

1:13:491:13:52

They're known as "pansies".

1:13:521:13:54

People of that kind are born like that.

1:13:591:14:02

To that extent, I suppose they're not responsible.

1:14:041:14:08

What they are responsible for is their nuisance value.

1:14:111:14:16

They cause a lot of bad public feeling

1:14:161:14:18

towards the other, more discreet homosexuals.

1:14:181:14:22

When I ask for tolerance, it is for men like us...

1:14:281:14:33

..not the corrupters of youth,

1:14:351:14:38

not the effeminate creatures making an exhibition of themselves.

1:14:381:14:42

I speak for the men who, despite their tragic disability,

1:14:461:14:52

try to lead their lives as decent citizens.

1:14:521:14:55

There are many thousands of us.

1:14:571:14:59

How many, we do not know.

1:15:001:15:02

I believe that we would be better

1:15:041:15:07

and more useful members of society if we were allowed to

1:15:071:15:10

live in peace, instead of being condemned to live outside the law.

1:15:101:15:15

What did you do that for? Stop it...

1:15:221:15:25

HE GROANS

1:15:251:15:27

You're a fucking homo!

1:15:271:15:29

Thank you, Mr Wildeblood.

1:15:361:15:38

You've been most helpful.

1:15:411:15:43

Thank you, sir.

1:15:431:15:45

MAN WHISTLES

1:16:141:16:16

You know, I was very pleased with the recommendations made

1:16:261:16:30

and I thought, well, the law will change, but it wasn't changed

1:16:301:16:32

for another, what, nine years or ten years,

1:16:321:16:36

and when it did change, you know,

1:16:361:16:39

as I said earlier, I thought,

1:16:391:16:41

"Oh, yeah, nice condescending thing to do."

1:16:411:16:45

I was quite irritated by it.

1:16:451:16:47

INTERVIEWER: Why was that?

1:16:471:16:48

Yeah, because I thought, you know, all this consenting adults

1:16:481:16:52

in private, and if you had a threesome, say, you know,

1:16:521:16:56

you could be brought up... sent to prison -

1:16:561:16:59

not that people...not that people wanted threesomes, but you know

1:16:591:17:02

what I mean, and it had to be in private, in a house, and if there

1:17:021:17:06

were other people in the house, you know, you were breaking the law.

1:17:061:17:10

The change in the law that took place in 1967 I'm quite sure

1:17:101:17:14

had an enormous effect on a huge number of gay people but, erm,

1:17:141:17:18

the problem was, it was a minor change.

1:17:181:17:21

They weren't going to turn around to their parents and say,

1:17:211:17:23

"Oh, I'm gay and it's legal now so you can't do anything about it."

1:17:231:17:27

They were still going to be hiding, hiding themselves. It would take a

1:17:271:17:30

social change to bring real freedom to these people, not a legal change.

1:17:301:17:34

That is not to minimise the benefit the legal change made,

1:17:341:17:38

if nothing else, to stop people going to prison for something

1:17:381:17:41

that was nobody's business but their own.

1:17:411:17:44

My mother was saying,

1:17:441:17:46

"I know what you're going to do.

1:17:461:17:49

"Later on, when I go,

1:17:491:17:51

"you'll marry a non-Jewish girl."

1:17:511:17:54

I said, "Mum, I won't marry a girl at all."

1:17:541:17:57

It must have been a shock to her...

1:18:021:18:05

..but she just called me a dirty dog.

1:18:071:18:09

I did hold back particularly

1:18:151:18:18

because I knew my family would disown me pretty well,

1:18:181:18:23

and here I am now, and, er, fortunately...

1:18:231:18:28

I mean, it was only literally

1:18:281:18:33

since September of last year,

1:18:331:18:38

that I was able to come out to my family,

1:18:381:18:43

well, to my sister, younger sister.

1:18:431:18:46

Even now, I sometimes pinch myself and think, "Is it true?

1:18:461:18:51

"Has it happened?"

1:18:511:18:52

Erm, and I'm astonished.

1:18:521:18:56

I would never have thought that the law would change,

1:18:561:19:02

that public opinion would change.

1:19:021:19:05

-Hello, darling.

-Hello, darling.

1:19:071:19:09

How are you?

1:19:091:19:11

Not bad.

1:19:111:19:12

-Oh, good.

-And yourself?

1:19:121:19:14

-All right, thank you.

-Good.

1:19:141:19:16

-You had a good time?

-Very good time.

-Oh, good.

1:19:161:19:19

Well, we were the first couple in Westminster

1:19:191:19:24

as well as in the country to actually form the civil partnership,

1:19:241:19:31

which was very exciting, actually.

1:19:311:19:35

Lee died two years ago and we'd been together 66 years, and I found

1:19:411:19:47

that letter that I wrote to him amongst his effects,

1:19:471:19:50

and the address, his name, my name had been cut out,

1:19:501:19:54

so I folded the letter up

1:19:541:19:57

and placed it in his coffin so that it went with him wherever he went.

1:19:571:20:01

Yeah.

1:20:011:20:03

Queer.

1:20:111:20:12

Homosexual.

1:20:121:20:14

Poofter.

1:20:141:20:16

# Say it out loud it'll be OK

1:20:161:20:18

# I will be your light

1:20:181:20:19

# I will be your light

1:20:191:20:21

# I will be your light

1:20:211:20:23

# I will be your light

1:20:231:20:25

# If there's something inside that you wanna say... #

1:20:251:20:28

Shirt-lifter.

1:20:281:20:29

LAUGHTER

1:20:291:20:30

Flamer.

1:20:301:20:32

Never heard that one. Slamer?

1:20:331:20:36

Flamer, as in a flame.

1:20:361:20:37

-Flame. Flamer.

-Flamer.

1:20:371:20:39

Not one I've ever heard of.

1:20:391:20:41

I hadn't heard "brown hat".

1:20:421:20:44

Nancy boy.

1:20:461:20:48

Queen.

1:20:481:20:49

Friend of Dorothy.

1:20:491:20:51

-Faggot.

-Bender.

1:20:591:21:01

Batty boy.

1:21:011:21:03

Fairy.

1:21:111:21:13

You're very good at that?

1:21:151:21:17

I've heard it once or twice!

1:21:181:21:20

# ..Say it out loud, it'll be OK

1:21:201:21:22

# I will be your light

1:21:221:21:23

# I will be your light

1:21:231:21:25

# I will be your light

1:21:251:21:26

# I will be your light

1:21:261:21:28

# If there's something inside that you wanna say

1:21:281:21:31

# Say it out loud, it'll be OK

1:21:311:21:34

# I will be your light

1:21:341:21:36

# I will be your light

1:21:361:21:37

# I will be your light

1:21:371:21:39

# I will be your light. #

1:21:391:21:41

2017 sees the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act which decriminalised homosexual acts in England and Wales between adult males, in private. While it would take several decades before homosexuals would reach anything like full equality in this country, this legislation marks the beginning of this journey.

But the dramatic events that led to this Act took place over ten years before and are at the heart of Against the Law, a powerful factual drama starring Daniel Mays and Mark Gatiss. Mays plays Peter Wildeblood, a thoughtful and private gay journalist whose lover, under pressure from the authorities, turned Queen's evidence against him in one of the most explosive court cases of the 1950s - the infamous Montagu Trial. Wildeblood, and his friends Lord Montagu and Michael Pitt-Rivers, were found guilty of homosexual offences and jailed. But the public thought the trial unfair and forced a reluctant government to set up a committee to investigate whether homosexuality should be legalised. The committee was led by Sir John Wolfenden. With his career in tatters and his private life painfully exposed, Peter Wildeblood began his sentence a broken man, but he emerged from Wormwood Scrubs a year later determined to do all he could to change the way these draconian laws against homosexuality impacted on the lives of men like him. He was the only openly gay man to testify before the Wolfenden committee about the brutal reality of being gay in this country at that time. In 1957 the committee recommended that the laws be changed. It would take a further 10 years before these recommendations would become law.

Woven through this powerful drama is testimony from a chorus of men who lived through those dark days, when homosexuals were routinely imprisoned or forced to undergo chemical aversion therapy in an attempt to cure them of their 'condition'. There is also testimony from a retired police officer whose job it was to enforce these laws and a former psychiatric nurse who administered the so-called cures. All these accounts amplify the themes of the drama and help to immerse us in the reality of a dark chapter in our recent past, a past still within the reach of living memory.


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