chapter  6
13 Pages

‘Something for everyone’: Lesbian and gay ‘magazine’ programming on British television, 1980–2000


The penultimate decade of the twentieth century was a troubled and demoralising time for lesbians and gay men in Britain. The start of the AIDS epidemic coincided with, andwas exacerbated by, the fact that an energetically ideological, Conservative government was in power, led byMargaret Thatcher from 1979 to 1990 and then by John Major from 1990 to 1997. The Thatcherite moral project was characterised by a coercive return to ‘Victorian values’ alongside an incompatible assertion of the freedom of the individual from interference by the state. While the 1970s had promised so much in the way of ‘gay liberation’ – to use the expression of the time – such aspirations had not been met with much significant institutional reform by the time of the Thatcherite political backlash of the early 1980s. The AIDS epidemic developed, from 1982, in an unsympathetically judgemental atmosphere, led by government and enthusiastically fomented by a hostile, right-wing press.