Andrew Marr’s History of Gay Tory Witch Hunts

Age of the Gay Lords: Byron to Mandelson

The year was 1838, and a seemingly unremarkable Victorian dinner party was about to become one of the most crucial events in gay Tory witch hunt history…

A buxom woman wearing an elaborate fur coat and too much rouge sat smoking a hookah and guffawing at the inept dancing styles of high society. She was soon joined by a clean shaven young man sporting a flamboyant cravatte and sparkly buckles. Together, they reduced the Lord Keeper’s wife to tears with their noisy assessment of her bold patterned smock, advising that an empire gown would have drawn the eye from her shapeless waist to her inviting bust. The couple were promptly ejected from the party, but within the year would strengthen their special bond with marriage.

Her name? Mary Anne Lewis and she had just become the first recorded beard in British history. Her husband went on to pen a series of novels about strong women facing persecution from society – like Mrs Thatcher or Liza Minneli – but it was his political career which would truly shape the Britain we live in today. Benjamin Disraeli would become the first name in Philip Schofield’s list of gay Tory witches – and spell nothing but trouble for the BBC.

Swinging 60s London. The then director general of the BBC had thrown an 18th birthday party for his daughter. One reveller drank an entire keg of stout for a dare and promptly fell asleep in the middle of the revellers. The following morning, he emerged from the bathroom grunting “Might want to give it a minute, mate.” But indeed the carnage was so severe, that the director and his family had to move house immediately. The brute was a young Welshman by the name of Tom Jones. The director general decided the BBC should begin hiring nicer, less hirsute young men, who wouldn’t frighten his already traumatised daughter. Within the week, Cliff Richard headlined Top of the Pops, assuring everyone through song that he would remain a bachelor boy until he was dead.

The floodgates were opened. People who seemed like they might be homosexual were no longer confined to the Tory party. In the coming decades, our wives and daughters fantasised over George Michael and Mika, while our drinking companions trailed off mid-sentence having been hypnotised by the tuneful edicts of Strictly’s Bruno Tonioli on the Rugby Club wide screen.

And Schofield? Without delicately fragranced Tories to wave papers at, he ended his career interviewing minor characters from Merlin and people who’ve been bitten by dogs.