Freedom 50 Years of Pride: how to watch Channel 4 LGBTQ+ documentary as London Pride 2022 gets underway
The first Pride march took place in London on 1 July 1972 after being inspired by the 1969 Stonewall Riots that took place in New York
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This is what you need to know about Channel 4’s new documentary Freedom: 50 Years of Pride.
What is Freedom: 50 Years of Pride?
50 Years of Pride is a 90 minute documentary from Channel 4 which has been made as part of the channel’s special season of programmes to mark 50 years of Pride in the UK.
Since 1972, scores of man, women and non-binary protesters have taken to the streets in the UK for recognition and equality for LGBTQ+ rights. Over the years, Pride has evolved from a small-scale protest to a huge affair involving parades and events across the country which draws in millions of spectators and participants.
The documentary itself will take a look at the often overlooked history of Pride, from its origins to its struggles and, of course, its triumphs.
Channel 4 says: “50 Years of Pride will be a landmark documentary on the history of the [LGBTQ+] movement in the UK, made in collaboration with Oscar-nominated filmmaker Stephen Daldry and playwright Joe Robertson.
“The film will be told through first-person testimony and archive footage, hearing from those who faced down intense hostility and discrimination at the start, as well as from a younger generation for whom Pride has always been part of their life and identity.”
Who will be in the documentary?
The documentary will feature appearances from a whole host of people, including:
- Years & Years singer and It’s a Sin star Olly Alexander
- RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season 2 runner-up Bimini
- Political activist and UK Black Pride co-founder Lady Phyll
- Lord of the Rings actor Sir Ian McKellen
- Frankie Goes to Hollywood singer Holly Johnson
- Human rights campaigner and director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation Peter Tatchell
- Musician Cat Burns
- Grammy nominated singer, songwriter and record producer MNEK
- Singer and radio presenter Tom Robinson
- Trans rights activist and founder of London Trans+ Pride Lucia Blayk
Writing for the Independent, Tatchell wrote about what the very first UK Pride march was like in 1972.
He wrote: “I was one of about 30 [Gay Liberation Front] activists who organised that first UK Pride march, which took place in London on 1 July 1972.
“Only 700 people turned up. Many of my friends were too scared to march. They thought everyone would be arrested or bashed.”
Tatchell explained that the march was a “carnival-style parade, which went from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park”, and featured “lots of extravagant costumes and cheeky banners poking fun at homophobes”.
Where and when can I watch the documentary?
Freedom: 50 Years of Pride will air on Channel 4 tonight, Saturday 2 July, at 8pm.
Also included in Channel 4’s Pride at 50 season of programming is:
- Joe Lycett’s Big Pride Party, a two hour spectacular which will see the comedian celebrating all things LGBTQ+ alongside a whole host of famous faces
- April Ashley, a documentary about transgender model, dancer and restaurateur April Ashley, who died last year at the age of 86
- Outed: George Michael and the Fight for Freedom, a documentary re-examining the watershed moment that was the pop icon’s 1998 outing as a gay man
- A Celebrity Gogglebox special which will see a mix of series favourites and some of Britain’s best loved LGBTQ+ personalities taking to their couches, including Rylan Clarke and his mum Linda, Nick Grimshaw and his niece Liv, and Paul Sinha and his husband Oliver
- Special compilations of Naked Attraction and First Dates celebrating some of the memorable LGBTQ+ contributors across both shows