Great LezBritain: The Top 10 TV Moments That Built the British Lesbian

Sugar Rush, 2005 Channel 4

Sarah & Lee: Adapted by Jane English from the Julie Burchill book of the same name, we stumbled across Sugar Rush quite by accident and we were soon addicted to the funny, unique characters and brave storylines — such as pleasure by electric toothbrush.

Unlike most lesbian characters, 15-year old Kim (Olivia Hallinan) by is portrayed as a lone voice of sanity with the kind of inner-confidence about her sexuality that you wish you had felt at that age. The object of her desire (and her best friend),  Sugar (Lenora Crichlow), is the kind of unstable, exciting mess that attracts a disproportionate amount of otherwise sensible lesbians.

Lenora Crichlow (left) and Olivia Hallinan (right)

Kim and Sugar’s relationship was always riddled with melodrama but over two seasons we never stopped willing them to work it out — even when Kim found herself an altogether more suitable lady love in the shape of DJ Saint (Sarah-Jane Potts). It was baffling that Channel 4 canceled the show after just two seasons, especially when the prospect of Sugar, Kim and her girlfriend Saint all living together in season three would have no doubt been comedy gold.

Skins, 2009 Channel 4 – Season 3

Sarah & Lee: We must confess to both feeling a bit out of the target age bracket for Skins and to have only seen a few episodes. But it clearly offers an important and positive representation of a lesbian relationship for the generation watching it.

This generation (we are reliably informed by Sarah’s 16-year old sister and her friends) don’t see the relationship between Emily (Kathryn Prescott) and Naomi (Lily Loveless) as a particular talking point, they are just another couple within the show.

Lily Loveless (left) and Kathryn Prescott (right)

Looking back on the furor caused by Beth Jordache’s kiss in the early 90s on Brookside, Skins represents a giant step forward for lesbian characters on TV and the little lesbians watching at home trying to find something to identify with on their screens.

Joanna Briscoe’s bisexual thriller Sleep With Me was recently aired on ITV, plus The Secret Diary Of Miss Anne Lister is due in Spring, Skins returns this month and Lip Service, a full on lesbian six part drama, will come to BBC3 in April. This suggests that in the UK at least, lesbian relationships are no longer seen as quite so transgressive, and hopefully indicates good things for the future of lesbian visibility on our screens so hurrah for ‘Tom’ foolery.

What about you lady lovers, what were the important TV moments for you? Tell us and let’s have a right good old discussion about it.

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