Pride Season is upon us once again, but as we prepare to drown ourselves in rainbow underwear, cocktails and facepaint, here is our round-up of the best LGBT TV shows - both current classics and some old favourites - to get us in the celebratory mood.
Queer As Folk
It's the original gay serial - three men looking for connection and acceptance in and around Manchester's Canal Street in the revelrous nineties. It's hard to conceive of the impact this Channel 4 series had when it first came out, and just how revolutionary it felt at time when equal marriage was still but a twinkle in the Conservative Government's eye. But the notion that three gay characters could have fully-fleshed out lives represented on screen, in a joyful but complex way beyond the stereotypes was radical at the time. What's brilliant is this exuberant drama complete with nineties gold standard soundtrack has stood the test of time. The moment Stuart discovers hook-up Nathan wears a school uniform on a day to day basis (and not in an ironic way) is still TV gold.
The Tale of Yorkshire's 'First Lesbian' Annie Lester has been one of the LGBTQI community's best-kept secrets. But this stunning BBC show starring Suranne Jones in the titular role captures the story of this seductive maverick with aplomb. Whether it's her dexterous finger skills, or her code-making way of recording her exploits in her diary, this deliciously presenting period drama is all-round luscious.
Whether it's stylish cushions or good karma, Queer Eye is all about the straighten-up. Between them, the five-strong cast of Queer Eye cover interiors, dressing, grooming and emotional well-being and help everyday men and women put their inner and outer houses in order. Ignore those that tell you Queer Eye is all about the wallpaper - it's actually a celebration of love, friendship and being unapologetically kind and understanding - to yourself and to others.
Pose is a simultaneously delicate and deep portrayal of the 80s' New York drag scene, with tales of ball culture, privileged cis sugar daddies and, of course, the Aids tragedy woven in to its raucous plot. Pose also features the most transgender actors in its cast of any show ever. The ball scenes are amazing - and bristle with bitchiness and courage and superb costumes, but it's the everyday reality of the heartbreaking little prejudices - and the incredible acting of the cast that really mark this out at as a unique and ground-breaking drama.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace
Any good queer trip to Miami requires a pilgrimage to Gianni Versace's house. But if you can't make it to South Beach, this in memorium mega-drama will help you pay your respects. It tells the story of murder Andrew Cunanan, and his lavish plot to fell Versace, with all Versace's friends and lovers falling into the fray. The pace is taut, and the set and styling as lavish as you would expect. And who could be better cast as doting sister Donatella than Penelope Cruz?
When this three part ITV series was aired during prime time back in October 2018, the tabloids went mad for it, in all senses of the word. Butterfly is the story of a desperate mother, Vicky, played by Anna Friel, estranged from her husband who think she's indulging her 11-year-old trans daughter Maxine's feminine whims. Vicky makes the ultimate sacrifice for Maxine by stealing money from her own mother and taking her for hormone treatment in America, at the risk of arrest. It's a pacey and remarkably moving tale that captures in parochial detail the torturous family dynamic that evolves when the parents find their loyalties split - and their beliefs fall on either side of the trans debate.
Ru Paul's Drag Race
If you need evidence this show is a cult phenomenon, the fact Drag Race is now happily in its eleventh series should help. The costumes, the culture, the phrases - there's nothing about this camp kaleidoscope that we don't love. And if you ever wondered whether your walk, style or attitude was gay enough, you could do a lot worse than taking tips from The Maestra herself.