In a world where nature increasingly imitates art (as Oscar said it would), and so-called ‘reality’ television is utterly fantastic, Footballers’ Wives is compulsive viewing. This breathless canter through tabloid obscenity includes, with one exception, every foible of the modern Babylon. An hermaphrodite child; a lesbian press agent; multiple, cross-generational adultery; oodles of money; plenty of cleavage; and the occasional glimpse of pert athletic bum.
When Kyle and Chardonnay (sic) came to name their adoptive child, ‘Petit Chablis’ was offered as a serious possibility! Add to such absurdities a randy nurse, who is not above a little fellatio on comatose patients or being bribed to commit murder, and you have a plot the like of which the nation has never before seen. My video recorder is pre-timed.
But what, you will ask is missing from this smorgasbord of modernity?
The answer, of course, is male homosexuality. Not one of these randy, brawny team-mates fancies another – at least not yet. Considering the way in which Hello! and OK have jumped on the PC bandwagon, with cosy domestic features about the home life and interior décor of couples like the Michael Barrymores and the Elton Johns, this is surprising; and the way in which East Enders has taken gay couples in the same stride as trendy Vicars, renders it the more so.
But no-one, apparently, is yet ready for the out-gay fooballer. Not on the terraces, not in the studios. Footballers’ Boyfriends is a series still in the minds of the programme planners. Yet, with David Beckham and David Owen the pin-up boys of the glossy gay weeklies, it has to come. The gay liberation lobby will not have succeeded until such a possibility becomes an actuality.
What Lynda la Plante did for the right-on sisters – capturing prime-time television for women acting bossily in a man’s world (prison, police force, or whatever), someone has to do for gay men before the battle is truly won. Perhaps the gay pop star owner of the club might be caught up in an agonized three-way relationship with two of his players; or better still, he and captain Jason might become lovers, and be locked in a custody battle for hermaphrodite Paddy with Kyle, Chardonnay and Kyle’s mum.
Now watch on…