The big buzz around Different for Girls at BFI Flare.
TV has never been reflective of real life – who would want it to? But it does get boring to always see ‘side-character’ lesbians.
That’s why, when her indie hit novel rose to acclaim, author Jacquie Lawrence didn’t push to turn it into a TV series – she went online.
It sold out within 10 minutes.
One of the reasons Lawrence’s series is has been so popular is it promises to fill a void.
According to the author’s calculations, British viewers only get to watch a decent lesbian specific drama (like The L Word, Lip Service, or Sugar Rush) once every 5 years.
“Even when lesbian characters are assimilated in to mainstream drama and soaps, they are marginalised,” she told The Memo. “They have rather boring story lines, their characterisations are one-dimensional and then they are killed or injured, usually by a road accident (Last Tango In Halifax, Call the Midwife).”
“I call this Lesbian Road Kill,” she berates.
To the contrary, online series are becoming a safe haven for a fantastic breadth of characters: streamed shows simply offer a diversity that TV does not.
“Netflix and Amazon Prime has successfully integrated lesbians into mainstream shows like Orange is the New Black, Sense8 and Transparent,” Lawrence elaborates.
“People are turning to the web to see representation – that’s where our lesbian stories are thriving.”
You can imagine then, why fans have drummed up hype around the premier of “sassy, sexy and uber modern romance” Different for Girls.
With an ensemble cast of lesbian characters – wives, mothers and fiancees (and gay dads) – it looks to be a breath of fresh air.
Viewers can expect ‘who’s-the-father’ drama father, emotional trouble in paradise, as well as tight comedy between ex-girlfriends Nicola (Caroline Whitney Smith) and Jude (Guinevere Turner).
“I wanted to move away from the usual coming out narrative,” said Lawrence.
“Our lives, as lesbians in the UK, have changed […] we have different stories to tell.”
Funded in part through crowdfunding, making Different for Girls a reality hasn’t been easy.
“We lost a major investor after Brexit but we still had enough to make 5 episodes instead of 10,” says Lawrence. A further five episodes are planned for release this summer.
What’s more, anyone who didn’t get a BFI Flare ticket can tune into the series at 6pm this Saturday through the YouTube Channel Lesbian Box Office.
TV might still be full of sad lesbian tropes. But it’s great to see BFI Flare showcase supporting a web series that takes a stand:
No more ‘lesbian road road’.
Watch the trailer for Different for Girls below…
Kitty Knowles is a Senior Features Writer at The Memo. Kitty previously worked as an online journalist for GQ. She can be found tweeting @KittyGKnowles.