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Ben Whishaw, Alan Cumming, Russell Tovey to Headline BBC’s ‘Queers’

Variety logo Variety 5/11/2017 Robert Mitchell
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Ben Whishaw, Alan Cumming and Russell Tovey are set to headline “Queers,” a new series of one-off monologues for BBC Four curated and directed by “Sherlock” co-creator Mark Gatiss.

The eight-episode series, which is currently in production, is produced by BBC Studios in partnership with London’s famous Old Vic theater, which will stage all eight 15-minute monologues in July ahead of their television transmission.

The series was commissioned by the BBC to mark the 50th anniversary this year of the U.K.’s landmark Sexual Offenses Act, which partially de-criminalized sex between men. The monologues, written by eight different new and established writers, including Gatiss, will explore some of the most poignant, funny, tragic and riotous moments of British gay history and the personal rites of passage of British gay men through the last 100 years.

“James Bond” star Whishaw, who won a BAFTA Television Award for best actor for his role as Richard II in “The Hollow Crown,” will play a soldier returning from the trenches of World War I in “The Man on the Platform” (pictured).

Tony Award-winner Cumming will feature in a contemporary tale called “Something Borrowed,” which reflects on gay marriage. Tovey, who stars in ABC’s “Quantico” and is currently appearing in a revival of Pulitzer Prize-winning “Angels in America” at the National Theatre in London (along with Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane), will play a gay actor in the 1980s in an episode titled “More Anger.”

Other episodes will star Rebecca Front, Gemma Whelan, Ian Gelder, Kadiff Kirwan and Fionn Whitehead.

The plays see writers Matthew Baldwin, Jon Bradfield, Michael Dennis, Keith Jarrett and Gareth McLean working in television for the first time, alongside established screenwriters Jackie Clune, Brian Fillis and Gatiss.

The BBC previously found success with its “Talking Heads” series of dramatic monologues written by Alan Bennett and broadcast in 1988 and 1998.

“Queers” will be broadcast as part of the BBC’s Gay Britannia season this summer. The series was commissioned by Cassian Harrison, channel editor for BBC Four, and Mark Bell, head of arts commissioning at the BBC. Pauline Law serves as executive producer.

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