The Street by Terry McDonough
 a drama by Terry McDonough
 2007 | 60 mins | UK
 ›› The Street / Series Two - Episode Three
 being married, being gay, in an area where no-one's gay
 a BBC1 drama premiere: Thursday 22 November 2007
starring: Vincent Regan, Julia Ford, Will Mellor, Alice Grice, Adam Beresford, John Churnside, Neil Bell, Melanie Hill, Mark Benton, Matt Smith, Nick Moss, Kieran Bew, Gina McKee, Lorraine Ashbourne, Will Tacey, Joel Goonan, Toby Kebbell, Pauline Daniels
Whilst this is not a gay film, it is however one of the hardest hitting gay dramas to air on the BBC in a long time. Then again, that should be of no surprise given this hour-long work is from the award-winning pen of Jimmy McGovern and here think Priest, let alone the acclaimed ITV crime series CRACKER.

For here McGovern has crafted a series of individual dramas centered around a set of characters linked solely by way of living in the same street as each other and on face value living similar lives; namely a mother and father struggling to bring up their children in a downbeat community. Yet scratch below the surface and each family has a gritty tale to tell and in this case, a homosexual one at that too.

So cue the story of Charlie Morgan, a man who supports his family by way of mixing government benefit with the odd cash-in-hand demolition job on the side. Working away from home more often than not, he soon finds himself sharing the demolition site and thereafter the cheapest bedsit going with fellow labourer Tom, who much to his surprise extends to him the homosexual hand of friendship in the middle of the night! Initially shocked by such a gesture, Charlie eventually succumbs to Toms' sexual charms, along the way taking their working relationship to an all the more intimate level. Only when pay day brings with it a well-earned pint, their celebratory night out on the local gay scene turns into an ever decreasing spiral for Charlie, as a stolen wallet and watch prompt an increasingly curious wife to question what exactly is her husband trying to hide?

Based upon an idea by Daniel Brocklehurst, this cutting drama stays true to the celluloid premise that when lies are told, you just know that the truth will surface in ways that spell potential disaster for one and all. Yet here McGovern casts the issue of morality aside, focusing instead on matters relating to being gay in a homophobic community and inparticular the implications of such, for those men who whilst married find themselves drawn to the same sex. To that end, Vincent Regan as Charlie gives a compelling portrayal of a tormented soul, backed by fine support from Will Mellor as gay lover Tom and Julia Ford as Charlie's troubled wife Roz.

Only in having raised the issue of suppressed homosexual desires coming to the surface and the repercussions of such when you see your life rapidly unraveling right before your eyes, McGovern opts for a dramatic compromise. Then again, the concluding reels of this tense and often bleak series have always turned scenes of social alienation and angst around to produce a somewhat contrived happy ending, if indeed the word 'happy' is the one to use. For in an age in which gay characters and out personalities are seemingly a requisite part of broadcasting, here McGovern questions just how easy it is to be openly gay in both a profession and a community, let alone a street, in which the light of homosexual acceptance has still to shine?

Well acted throughout, this is a poignant work that reflects the views held by many gay / bisexual men living in an area where 'no-one's gay' - at least in their view.
Copyright 2007 David Hall -
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