Friday, 28 June 2013

We All Love Captain Ginger

In this, the gayest of all weeks, we couldn't neglect the birthday of that camp icon John Inman.

His character "Mr Humphries" has often been cited by po-faced gay "activists" as somehow wrong or stereotyping of gay men for the way he was portrayed - mummy's boy, mincing, weak and pansy-ish - but, if truth be told, there are a helluva lot of gay men out there (here?) who fit that bill, so why on earth should he not?

I always thought he was hilarious when I was younger, especially his interplay with the magnificent Molly Sugden ("Mrs Slocombe").

The late, great Mr Inman was "out there" shining a light on gayness, on prime-time television, at a time when "serious" art (think films such as Dog Day Afternoon, The Sergeant, The Children’s Hour) preferred its gays to be doomed, unhinged and/or tragic figures who always conveniently die in the end.

We should be eternally grateful to him for taking a gay character and making him into a figure beloved of millions.

Facts about John Inman:
  • For a time he worked in a real-life department store, Austin Reed, but left for a job as a scenic artist with Kenneth Kendall's touring company, with whom he eventually became an actor. He appeared in many popular plays such as Salad Days, Charley's Aunt and My Fat Friend before getting his big break in Are You Being Served?.
  • Mr Inman was one of the nation's best known pantomime dames and appeared in over 40 pantomimes across the United Kingdom, appearing regularly as one of the two ugly sisters alongside Hi-de-Hi's Barry Howard.
  • In December 2005, after being in a long-term relationship for 33 years, John and his partner Ron Lynch entered into a civil partnership. John Inman died in St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, on 8th March 2007 aged 71, and left his entire estate of £2.8 million to his partner. At the time this was believed to be the largest amount a gay man in a civil partnership had inherited since the ceremonies became legal in 2005.
Here is one of our favourite Music Hall numbers, done in Mr Inman's butchest fashion:

We All Love Captain Ginger:

Frederick John Inman (28th June 1935 – 8th March 2007)

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