While America has Marc Cherry (‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘The Golden Girls’) and Alan Ball (‘Six Feet Under’), we have out television creator Bevan Lee, responsible for writing and creating many of Australia’s best loved TV shows over the last three decades.
Lee’s impressive resume spans ‘All Saints’, ‘Headland’, ‘Marshall Law’, ‘Always Greener’, ‘The Potato Factory’, ‘Water Rats’, ‘Halifax F.P’, ‘Spellbinder’, ‘The Last Bullet’, ‘Home & Away’, ‘The Flying Doctors’, ‘Sons and Daughters’ - even ‘Prisoner’ and ‘The Adventures of Skippy’!
He says his nomination has come out of the blue and that he’s chuffed, admitting that “I’ve never thought about whether I’m influential or not; I just do what I do.
“I never set out with an agenda,” says Bevan of his thirty years in Australian television. “I don’t have a gay agenda. But I guess I look back on certain stories that I’ve done and three years ago I did do the first story ever on Australian television about crystal methamphetamine on ‘Home & Away’; I showed positive gay characters on ‘All Saints’. And I guess without having an agenda I have done some stories that really have shown gay life and gay sensibilities - hopefully in a non-clichéd way.”
The advice he gives to young script writers following in his footsteps is a softly, softly, catchy message. “If it’s commercial you shouldn’t be too strident about your agenda because any commercial television operator is going to be cautious about a creative person who is wanting to come in with some agenda or their own sexual politics they want to inject into everything. You go in there, you tell interesting stories which are about the story and about people and about emotion, and if that happens to be a story that has a gay sensibility and people stop, muse or rethink from it – then that’s great. If I’m going to get my message across, am I actually going to get it across to an audience that wants to sit there and look at it?”
Lee’s profile on Amazon.com reads: “I believe that a judicious combination of living it and reading about it is a great balance. Sometimes you've got to turn away from life and read about it and at other times you have to put down the book and look at the reality.”
They’re appropriate words from someone who does both very well.
By Danny Corvini
The Same Same 25 is an annual celebration of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians. They are publicly nominated, and chosen by a panel of community leaders.
For the past two years, the announcement of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians has attracted widespread national media attention and focused on the achievements and influence of a varied and inspirational group of people.