Joe celebrates 50 years with a Big Pride Party

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Sunday: Joe Lycett’s Big Pride Party - (Channel 4, 9pm)

Channel 4 has entertained and informed viewers up and down the land with its special season of landmark programmes and specials marking 50 years of Pride in the UK.

It has explored all aspects of the movement, including the incredible achievements and challenges of advancing LGBTQ+ rights and visibility over the last half century, while also giving voice to the diversity of identity and sexuality in the 2020s.

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The season is going out in style as comedian and consumer warrior Joe Lycett lifts the lid on a big queer party, live from his Birmingham hometown.

Join Joe Lycett's Big Pride PartyJoin Joe Lycett's Big Pride Party
Join Joe Lycett's Big Pride Party

“As a broadcaster who has proudly championed LGBTQ+ programming for 40 years, we are delighted to be marking the climax of our Pride at 50 season with Joe Lycett’s loud and proud celebration,” said Channel 4 exec Louisa Compton.

“This isn’t just any party – it’s a Pride party with purpose – and while we’ll be celebrating all that’s been achieved we’ll also be calling out where progress has stalled across the world. Watch out for some very noisy and exciting stunts.”

The two-hour inclusive spectacular will loudly and proudly celebrate all things LGBTQ+, and will be full to bursting with Joe’s trademark wit, a barrage of naughtiness, and just a smattering of righting wrongs.

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In typical fashion, he says of fronting the show: “As a straight white man who works in scaffolding I’m not quite sure why I’ve been asked to host this????”

The (very) funny man is set to be joined by a dazzling line up of celebrity guests including Hollywood superstar Rupert Everett, Heartstopper sensations Joe Locke and Yasmin Finney, comedians Mawaan Rizwan, Jen Ives and Gina Yashere, as well as Drag Race queens Lawrence Chaney and Tia Kofi.

Also among the line-up are queer heroes Boy George and Culture Club, as well as Steps and the too-cool-for-school Self Esteem.

National treasure Danny Dyer promises to make an unforgettable cameo from the closet, celebrities are asked to reveal their darkest secrets, and the inimitable Rosie Jones hits the road.

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As if all that wasn’t tempting enough, Joe will be pulling off one of his most ambitious stunts to date, which involves a load of MPs and an impromptu statue in Westminster. The mind boggles…

There will also be a countdown of the Top 10 LGBTQ+ television moments and the specially invited audience – made up of LGBTQ+ icons, allies and local heroes – will be sharing their personal stories of Pride.

As if to demonstrate how important the shift toward greater inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community has been over the past 40 years, Olympic athlete Dame Kelly Holmes is among the participants – appearing weeks after having officially come out as a lesbian at the age of 52.

She knew she was gay by the time she was 17 but had to keep her sexuality secret during her career in the Women’s Royal Army Corps, as it was illegal for gay, lesbian and bisexual people to serve in the British armed forces until 2000.

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Kelly even feared retroactive action could be taken against her, until a military LGBTQ+ leader in 2020 set her mind at ease.

“I felt like I could breathe again,” she said. As for choosing to go public, “it was my decision,” she told The Mirror. “I’m nervous about saying it. I feel like I’m going to explode with excitement.”