Freedom 50 Years of Pride: how to watch Channel 4 documentary


The first Pride march took place in London on July 1, 1972, after being inspired by the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York

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Here’s what you need to know about Channel 4’s new documentary Freedom: 50 years of pride.


What is Freedom: 50 Years of Pride?

50 years of pride is a 90 minute documentary film made by Channel 4 as part of the channel’s special program season to celebrate 50 years of Pride in Britain.


Since 1972, dozens of men, women and non-binary Protesters have taken to the streets across the UK for recognition and equal rights for LGBTQ+ rights. Over the years, Pride has grown from a small protest to a massive event with parades and events across the country, attracting millions of spectators and participants.

The documentary itself will take a look at the often overlooked history of Pride, from its origins to its struggles and of course its triumphs.

Gay rights activists listen as speeches are made during an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the first UK Pride March in Trafalgar Square on July 1, 2022 in London, England (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Channel 4 says: “50 Years of Pride will be a landmark documentary about the history of [LGBTQ+] Movement in Britain is a collaboration with Oscar-nominated filmmaker Stephen Daldry and playwright Joe Robertson.

“The film is told through first-person testimony and archival footage, from those who initially faced intense hostility and discrimination, as well as from a younger generation for whom Pride has always been a part of their lives and identity.”


Who will star in the documentary?

The documentary will feature appearances from a variety of people including:

  • Years & Years singers and It’s a sin star Olli Alexander
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Season 2 runner-up Bimini
  • Political activist and co-founder of UK Black Pride Lady Phyll
  • Lord of the rings actor Sir Ian McKellen
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood Singer HollyJohnson
  • Human rights activist and director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation Peter Tatchell
  • Musician Cat Burns
  • Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and record producer MNEK
  • Singer and radio presenter Tom Robinson
  • Trans rights activist and founder of London Trans+ Pride Lucia Blayk

writing for them IndependentlyTatchell wrote about what the very first UK Pride march looked like in 1972.

Peter Tatchell attending the Gay Times Honors 2021 at Magazine London on November 19, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Gay Times)

He wrote: “I was one of about 30 [Gay Liberation Front] Activists who organized the first UK Pride march, held in London on 1 July 1972.


“Only 700 people came. Many of my friends were too scared to march. They thought everyone would be arrested or beaten up.”

Tatchell explained that the march was a “Carnival-style parade that ran from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park” and “included many extravagant costumes and cheeky banners mocking homophobes”.


Where and when can I see the documentary?

Freedom: 50 years of pride airs tonight, Saturday 2 July at 8pm on Channel 4.


Also included in Channel 4 Pride’s 50th season of programming is:

The public attend the Pride Glasgow Festival on June 25, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)
  • Joe Lycett’s Big Pride Partya two-hour spectacle that will see the comedian celebrates all things LGBTQ+ along with a whole host of famous faces
  • April Ashlya documentary about transgender model, dancer and restaurateur April Ashley, who died last year aged 86
  • Outed: George Michael and the Fight for Freedom, a documentary that re-examines the turning point of that time the pop icon 1998 came out as a gay man
  • A celebrity glasses box Special which will see a mix of series favorites and some of the UK’s most popular LGBTQ+ personalities on their sofas, including Rylan Clarke and his mom Linda, Nick Grimshaw and his niece Liv, and Paul Sincha and his husband Oliver
  • Special compilations of Naked Attraction and first date to celebrate some of the memorable LGBTQ+ contributors from both shows