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New series. Richard Coles embarks on an investigation of same-sex desire through the ages, starting with the modern construction of gay identity and its links with the ancient world. In the first programme he confronts the challenges of uncovering such a history, given that the idea of `being gay’ is a relatively modern phenomenon; and finds that the sexologists of the 19th century were greatly influenced by the preponderance of homosexuality in classical texts.

Radio Times Review by: David Crawford

The delightful, inquisitive Rev Richard Coles turns his gaze to the construction of homosexual identity in the 20th century and its historical antecedents. He covers a lot of ground, from gay gods in ancient Egypt to Freud and the diaries of Yorkshire proto-lesbian Anne Lister. Stuffed full of interviews with academics, at times it risks being as dry and dusty as the Egyptian tomb where Coles looks at wall paintings that are arguably the first known depictions of a homosexual relationship. But where else are you going to hear what is thought to be the world’s first chat-up line — “How beautiful your backside is.” — and a British Museum curator crudely describing an act of self-fellation?

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