Interview: Daniel Brocklebank | So So Gay magazine

In 1999, Daniel Brocklebank won the Screen Actor’s Guild award for his performance in Shakespeare In Love. However, in spite of a beckoning Hollywood career, he believes his decision to come out ruined any chance for him to be successful in LA. He is currently starring as Jack in the critically acclaimed production of The Importance of Being Earnest at Kingston’s Rose Theatre alongside Jane Asher, and has been talking to So So Gay about his career and the difficulties for out gay actors.

SSG: What’s it like working alongside Jane Asher – did she bring in any cakes?

Daniel Brocklebank: Yes, she did bring in a cake actually; we had one last week and I tweeted about it because I was so excited about the Jane Asher cake. She’s been lovely to work with. We’ve been blessed on this job that everybody – it’s a small cast so there’s just eight of us – has gotten on very well and it’s been lovely doing it.

You’re in probably Oscar Wilde’s most well-known play. How did you feel approaching a piece of work  that so many people will recognise?

It was quite daunting. I think it’s the sort of play – any play that’s so well-known – where you can be lured into a false sense of security that it’s going to be easy to do, and I think it would be fairly easy to do badly.

A lot of our readers will have known you from Emmerdale. Did you enjoy the soap environment?

It’s a totally different experience. I’d obviously done a lot of films and some TV work but not anything which was constantly evolving. Usually you get your breakdown and that lets you know exactly what your character’s back-story is, who they are and why they are there.

With something like Emmerdale it keeps evolving all the time. You’ll be getting new scripts every other week and thinking, ‘Oh Christ, I didn’t know that about the character – if I’d known that maybe I’d played that three weeks ago slightly differently’.

Your character was quite a love interest…

Well he had quite a few interests – he slept his way around the village. It was good fun, and I gained a new found respect for the genre once I’d been in it because I realised how bloody hard these people have to work. On Emmerdale we were shooting an episode each day, which is a huge amount to put down – especially if you’re carrying a storyline for six or seven episodes back to back. It’s such hard work to remember all of the dialogue, only to un-remember it just as quickly in order to remember the next episode of dialogue.

Did you find you had a connection with the audience, and did you receive many letters?

Yeah, it had a huge effect – I found the whole bisexual storyline with my character really interesting. As far as I’m aware I don’t think bisexuality had really been tackled  in soaps before.

I did get a lot of letters from young lesbian or gay teens thanking me for making it easier to come out to their parents because they’ve got someone to relate to, which was lovely.

On the flip side, I also got a lot of letters from Christian groups saying ‘you’re going to hell’, and that it was disgusting that a man should be kissing another man on primetime before the watershed

I got a lot of contact from both ends of the spectrum, but thankfully the majority was very positive. It’s nice to know that even in a weird disconnected way you’re helping people to come to terms with their sexuality.

Did you worry about playing a gay role, as a gay actor?

When I first started the role he wasn’t gay, he was straight – in fact he was married. The bisexuality didn’t come into it until eight or nine months after I started in the show.

I don’t worry about it. To a degree you do run the risk of being marginalised and stereotyped because you’re a gay actor playing a bisexual character. Because soaps do a very funny thing to you as an actor, in that they turn you into a celebrity.

I don’t like to be pigeonholed just because I’m an out actor – that doesn’t mean from my perspective that I can’t play straight roles.

I also don’t want to spend the rest of my career playing gay roles just because I’ve decided to come out publicly.

You had a lead role in Shakespeare in Love. Do you think coming out closed doors for you in Hollywood?

Absolutely, yes. I lived in LA for a few years, worked over there. I was advised by people that were then managing me that my career would be more successful if I remained in the closet. However it’s not just about work for me, it’s about personal happiness as well.

From my perspective I pretend to be other people for a living – essentially I bullshit for a living. I didn’t want to spend my private life bullshitting as well, and pretend to be someone that I wasn’t.

Do you think it’s the producers, or the public, who won’t accept a gay actor playing a straight lead?

You can’t blame anybody or anything entirely. I think producers are concerned that the general public won’t believe a gay or lesbian actor playing a romantic lead opposite somebody of the opposite sex. For example if you take someone like Anne Heche, whose career has disintegrated since coming out publicly – and she is by no means an obvious lesbian.

By coming out publicly she’s probably not considered for romantic lead roles anymore.

Do you think it’s improving?

I’d say there has been a slight improvement with people having the balls to come out. There’s still a massive stigma about the subject and it’s still a very daunting prospect for the younger generation of lesbian and gay actors.

I’m sure they will feel a pressure to not come out and to stay in the closet,  and I’m absolutely convinced that I would have been far more successful if I hadn’t have come out.

Not that I’m bothered about that. I’m very happy with my life now, but I think that I’ve probably been overlooked for roles because of it.

The Importance of Being Earnest runs at Kingston’s Rose Theatre until 30 October 2011. Tickets range from £8 to £30 and are available from the theatre box office. 


So So Gay podcast – October 2011 | So So Gay magazine

On this month’s podcast – Owen Jones talks about his new book, Chavs; singer songwriter Chris Selman tells So So Gay about his new album and obsessive fans, and Ade Bradley gets taken on a tour of Paul A Young’s latest chocolate boutique in Wardour street. Plus we discuss gay marriage, the blood ban, homophobia in America and the latest from the Rugby World Cup. All this and the arts, culture and banter you’ve (hopefully) come to expect from the UK’s leading online LGBT magazine.

Music by Michael Speed.

Subscribe to iTunes or download it below.


Steps go Number One – Interview with Lisa Scott-Lee and Lee Latchford-Evans | So So Gay magazine

Steps are back – and topping the charts again. Reuniting after ten years in the wilderness,  the new greatest hits compilation, The Ultimate Collection, has gone straight in at number one, giving them a number one album in each of the last three decades.After a warts-and-all documentary on Sky Living and appearances Daybreak and This Morning this is turning into a great few weeks for the five piece camp-pop supremos:  More than 80,000 tickets for a brand new arena tour next April have already been sold, including needing to add an extra night at London’s O2 arena. So So Gay spoke to Lisa Scott-Lee and Lee Latchford Evans about the reunion earlier this month:

In the five years they were together they scored 14 consecutive top five hits, two number ones and sold a staggering ten million albums. But behind the scenes all was not well, and the new documentary reveals all about the reality of being in a manufactured pop band: how it feels when you find out none of your vocals can be heard in the final track and what happened when H had a secret relationship with band manager Tim Byrne.

Just an hour before the last gig of their sell out Gold tour, H and Claire handed in their resignations and that seemed to be that. Lisa Scott-Lee certainly seemed to think so. ‘I don’t think anybody did, especially with the way things ended.’ In fact it took two years for their to be any communication between the two camps – H and Claire, and Lisa, Faye and Lee. ‘Myself, Faye and Lee really felt divided because of how things split,’ explains Lisa. ‘Over the years we really kind of worked on building the bridges and supporting each other.’

For Lee and H it was even longer before they saw each other. ‘In those first two years I think it was just finding ourselves, finding who we are, keeping close with people that we trusted at that point. But I think out of all of us myself and H probably had the longest divide,’ he reveals.

So what was it that brought them together after six years? ‘It was Claire’s wedding – second wedding, may I say –  that brought us all together for the first time,’ says Lee. ‘But even then it wasn’t a time that we all sat down and discussed anything because obviously it was a nice occasion. Don’t want to ruin any atmosphere.’

They are obviously nervous about giving it another go. ‘It’s a big deal,’ reckons Lisa. ‘And also because we did have so much success we didn’t want to tarnish anybody’s memory of Steps.’

It had been quite a career; Lee remembers doing ’5, 6, 7, 8.’ ‘We were only signed for one song originally, so it was just a case of go out, do that track and see what happens.’ And what happened was quite remarkable. ‘It had a huge success in itself,’ continues Lee. ‘It’s still in the Guinness Book of Records for being the longest song in the charts that actually didn’t enter the top ten – which was quite a weird and phenomenal achievement in itself. I think the record company were happy with that; they saw potential. We got Pete Waterman involved, and, as they say, the rest is history.’

Steps have always had a massive gay following, some of their largest gigs were on stage at G-A-Y. ‘Some of our best memories are from our shows at the Astoria,’ recounts Lisa. ‘We were always lucky to have a great gay following and it’s still very present today, and that’s something that we’re really proud of’

And why do they think they have such a gay following? ‘Well I think because we’re a bit camp,’ laughs Lisa. ‘We’ve got great pop songs. I think the gay audience appreciate that; they’re really good at letting their hair down and enjoying themselves. I think they could just see that in ourselves that we were enjoying ourselves.’

One of the reasons has to be Lee himself. When So So Gay took to Twitter to ask readers what questions we should put to the band, we were asked to pass on at least four proposals or marriage to him. ‘Lee is looking very hot,’ agrees Lisa. He’s spent much of the time since Steps broke up running, a site that provides ‘loads of information if you’re into that sort of thing. You can go there and find out lots from diet, health tips, injury prevention.’

But there’s one thing every fan wants to know: when will Steps be back on the stage. ‘I think there’s no doubt about it – the thought of touring again and coming to see you all is really exciting thought,’ says Lisa. ‘But we really are going to see how the Ultimate Collection goes – that’s out on 10 October. If that’s well supported then it means we can take it on the road. It really is down to the fans.’ So maybe you should be brushing up on your ‘Stomp’ and ‘Tragedy’ just in case.


Theatre Review: Ragtime (Landor Theatre, London) | So So Gay magazine

Based on E. L. Doctorow’s historical novel, Ragtime tells the story of America coming to terms with the changes brought by the 20th century. The show follows three groups searching for their version of the perfect America: White Anglo-Saxon Protestants; immigrants from Eastern Europe; and African-Americans from Harlem. Each is full of hope and anxiety about what the new century might bring for them.

First performed in Toronto in 1997 before going to Broadway, this ambitious fringe production at Clapham’s tiny Landor Theatre has had to make a few changes to fit into the small pub theatre space.

George Dyer has done a fantastic job adapting Stephen Flaherty’s bouncy ragtime score to have it be played by a band of just five. But if the production has downsized the orchestra, they’ve taken no easy option with the cast. Twenty-three people squeeze onto the stage, with the end result being some very powerful and impressive chorus numbers. This really is fantastic entertainment.

This is very much an ensemble piece, but a number of performances stand out from a rather excellent crowd. Kurt Kansley has the right combination of swagger – and then anger – as he has to deal with the racism of white America. Judith Paris’ Emma Goldman (one of the many genuine historical characters in the play) is also a delight to watch.

But it is Lousia Lydell, as Mother, who really leads the pack. She delivers compassion and determination in equal measure. You really feel her anguish when her husband abandons her to explore the world in ‘Goodbye, My Love’.

The only grumble, and a minor one at that, is in the design. The imaginative set uses shadows and silhouettes referencing the small keepsakes sold by Jewish immigrant Tateh, trying to find his fortune. While this is an impressive idea, the combination of the large cast and small theatre result in a bit of a claustrophobic experience.

But this should not put you off; Ragtime is an example of what London’s fringe theatre can really deliver well.

Ragtime is at the Landor Theatre, London SW9 9PH until 8 October. Tickets cost £18 and are available online or by calling 020 7737 7276.


John Leguizamo to make UK stage debut | So So Gay magazine

Actor John Leguizamo is bringing his Broadway hit show, Ghetto Klown, to London for his UK stage debut. Leguizamo, who famously played Toulouse-Lautrec in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge, has received critical acclaim for the autobiographical show, which opens 25 October at the Charing Cross Theatre.

In Ghetto Klown, Leguizamo takes audiences from his adolescent memories in Queens to the early days of his acting career during the outrageous Eighties avant-garde theatre scene, and onto the sets of major motion pictures and his roles opposite some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Directed by Fisher Stevens, the show earned Leguizamo a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, and a Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance.

Ghetto Klown runs at the Charing Cross Theatre from 25 October to 19 November. Tickets range from £15 – £29.50 and are available online or by calling the box office on 020 7907 7075


Celebrities speak out about being gay role models | So So Gay magazine

Leading British public figures, including Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss and Channel 4 News’ Matthew Cain  have spoken out about being openly gay in interviews with freelance journalist Gareth McLean.

Gatiss told McLean that he wouldn’t call himself a role model, but recognised the impact people like him can have: “ “ I’m aware that, as a successful actor and writer, I have a certain visibility. For someone in that position to say ‘I’m a happy gay man’ would have made a huge difference to me as a kid because there wasn’t anyone.”

In a particularly moving section, Channel 4 News journalist Matthew Cain talks about some of the abuse he’s received since becoming Culture Editor in 2010.  But he has no regrets about being open about his sexuality saying, ”I spent the first 16 years of my life hating myself for being gay so why would I go back to that?”. He went on, “ “Me and a close friend, who’s well-known but shall remain nameless, recently had a party called Better Out Than In to celebrate the fact that we had been out of the closet longer than we were in it. It was an unapologetic celebration of our identity as gay men and both sets of parents were there – along with some topless barmen. If part of my parents’ worry was me being unhappy, they don’t have to worry now.”

Quotes printed courtesy of Gareth McLean. The full piece, Out In Public, is available on his blog Whispering In A Helicopter. 

Featured image credit: Sara Zizza, Flickr.


Editor’s note: May – Travel/International | So So Gay magazine

After the wettest April on record, and with May not looking like it’s going to be much better, what better time for So So Gay to cover everything international. We’ll be looking at the best holiday locations as well as the news and issues facing LGBT people around the world.

Another big international story this month is Eurovision. With the eyes of the world (well the eyes of Graham Norton at least) focussed on Baku, we’ll see whether Englebert Humperdinck can do what Scooch, Josh Dubovie and Blue failed to do; bring the trophy back to Britain. So So Gay is the place to be for all the coverage (don’t forget to check out our special Eurovision podcast too).

But there are still important stories back at home. The consultation on equal marriage is still going – and the campaign against it is vicious and strong. The fight is not over yet, with a shaky coalition government that still needs to get legislation through both houses of parliament. It’s more important than ever that you make your voice heard – watch the campaign video by C4EM, sign the petition and take part in the consultation.

As well as all our usual news, reviews, features and interviews , we’ll have our latest columns from Dan in France and Shiv in New York.  Plus this month we’ll have a special feature on campphobia – is it rife in the gay community?

So keep it So So Gay this May

Ade Bradley


p.s. My money’s on Jedward


So So Gay Podcast – April | So So Gay magazine

This month’s podcast is a Eurovision Special.

Our Music Editor and resident Eurovision expert Leo Kristoffersson talks Ade Bradley through the runners and riders in next months context in Baku.

As well as picking out his tip for the trophy, he speaks to former winner Linda Martin as well past UK entrants Josh Dubovie and David Ducasse from Scooch.

You can subscribe using iTunes or listen online or download the MP3 directly below.

Music by Michael Speed

Featured image: Microphone by Seven Morris, Flickr


So So Gay readers’ offer: Soul Sister at the Hackney Empire | So So Gay magazine

The story of Ike and Tina Turner was crying out for the full stage treatment. And now a new musical at the Hackney Empire is doing just that, with a special offer for So So Gay readers.

Soul Sister tells the extraordinary story of musical legends Ike and Tina Turner, live on stage for the first time. Charting their electric first meeting and meteoric rise to fame through 1960s and 70s America, their turbulent marriage and Tina Turner’s thrilling re-emergence as an international rock star and icon.

Experience all the greatest hits on stage, as you’ve never seen or heard them before. Featuring What’s Love Got To Do With It, We Don’t Need Another Hero, Simply The Best, Proud Mary, Private Dancer, River Deep Mountain High, Respect, A Fool in Love, Honky Tonk Woman, Steamy Windows and many more!

Soul Sister runs at the Hackney Empire from 14 April – 5 May. Tickets cost from £10 – £27.50

So So Gay readers can get exclusive £10 tickets for for first 5 performances of this new show (14 – 18 April).  To claim the offer just call 020 8985 2424 and quote ‘Mountain High’ or book online at the official website, select seats from section A and enter the promo code ‘Mountain High’ at the checkout.


So So Gay Podcast – March 2012 | So So Gay magazine

This month we take two very different looks at gay rights in the UK and around the world.

Ade Bradley speaks to radio presenter Paddy O’Connell (@paddy_o_c) about celebrity journalism and the impact Eurovision has on gay rights in Europe. Plus he speaks to campaigning journalist Patrick Strudwick (@patrickstrud) on his fight against religious fundamentalists and gay cure therapists in the UK.

You can subscribe using iTunes or listen online or download the MP3 directly below.

Music by Michael Speed

Featured image: Microphone by Seven Morris, Flickr