- Clapham Junction (film)
Clapham Junction DVD cover
Directed by Adrian Shergold Written by Kevin Elyot Starring David Leon
Music by Martin Phipps Cinematography Tony Slater-Ling Editing by Tim Murrell Release date(s) 2007 Running time 99 minutes Language English
Clapham Junction is a 2007 British television film, written by Kevin Elyot. Directed by Adrian Shergold, the film centers on the experiences of several gay men during a 36 hour period in the Clapham area of London and the consequences when their lives collide. It was first broadcast on Channel 4 on 22 July 2007, repeated on 1 September 2009, and later released on DVD, but only on Region 1.
From a civil partnership ceremony to a heated dinner party, five stories are woven into London from school and work, to bars and clubs, during one hot summer’s night. The film opens with the audio of a weather report highlighting a current heatwave (something referred to intermittently in later dialogue), while the main characters and storylines are briefly introduced; Danny is shown walking down a deserted tunnel in school uniform, Robin is heading into the Channel 4 studios, Theo takes books from his locker at school and Terry is at work, driving while listening to headphones. We then see Danny practising on the fiddle, before the first scene opens with Robin trying to sell a script he's just finished. The script is rejected because "the whole gay thing...has been done". This sets a general narrative for the whole film, questioning the idea that legal equality and general media acceptance makes being gay no longer an issue.
This is interspersed with scenes from Will and Gavin's civil partnership, as the two tie the knot and Alfie prepares to act as the waiter for the event. We are briefly introduced to Danny's mum, Dolly, who praises her son's prowess to her boss, and see Theo heading to the library, before returning to Terry who returns home to his nan. He is depicted as a doting grandson, but there are clear tensions between him and his mother, an apparent alcoholic. Meanwhile, Danny is shown being subjected to homosexual taunts on his way home, and Theo is cruising Tim in the library, picking up his pen which he leaves behind.
Back at the civil partnership, Will clearly takes a shine to the waiter, Alfie. It is soon clear that he has no intention of remaining faithful to Will and he makes a movie on Alfie as they snort cocaine in the pantry. Will tries to have anal sex with him, but Alfie refuses, believing Will should remain faithful to Gavin. We then see Terry preparing to go out, and both him and Alfie end up at a gay night club in Vauxhall. They make eyes at each other and eventually start a conversation, only for this to be interrupted when a friend of Alfie's turns up and Terry disappears home with someone else.
Robin goes cruising in the public toilets where he meets Julian. They both exchange knowing glances and are intending to enter one of the cubicles together, when they are interrupted. Robin leaves. He waits outside briefly, but doesn't see Julian come out. He heads to a dinner party being held by Roger and Belinda, where Roger makes it clear that he's unhappy in his marriage and wants to be able to "play the field again".
Alfie leaves the night club alone, and finds Will's ring in his pocket along with a note containing his phone number. Terry is at the home of the guy he met at the club. The guy mentions that his mother has recently died, and Terry claims his mother is also dead, having being run over by a mail van. The guy makes a pass at Terry who jumps away, making an excuse about wanting the music turned up. As the guy goes to turn the music up, Terry smashes him over the head with an ashtray. He then repeatedly kicks him, puts cigarette butts in his mouth and urinates on him.
Theo's parents arrive at the dinner party and he is left home alone. He goes to his bedroom window, where he can see across into Tim's flat. Seeing Tim appear by the window in just his boxers, Theo proceeds to kneel beside the window, light a cigarette, drop his shorts and masturbate over him. Back in the public toilets, Julian is still there, spying through a glory hole in one of the cubicles. He attracts a guy in the neighbouring cubicle, who he proceeds to suck off. The other guy abruptly enters Julian's cubicle and roughly fucks him. Alfie enters the toilets and hears the sound of the two men having sex as he tries to urinate. The guy leaves and Alfie briefly sees Julian with his trousers down inside the cubicle, before he shuts the door. Alfie is then approached by two guys, who chases him out of the toilets and onto Clapham Common.
Julian arrives at the dinner party, where Robin recognises him as the guy he saw in the toilets. Meanwhile, Theo heads over to Tim's flat to return his pen. He tries desperately to enter against Tim's wishes, getting his foot hurt in the process as he tries to hold the door open. He eventually gets inside as the two are disturbed by others entering the flats. Once inside, he continues to make up reasons to stay, wanting to chat about history and asking for several glasses of water. Theo notices that his kitchen has been victim to a fire, and he tries to bond with Tim over a mutual dislike of others who live in the same area. It is clear that both are sexually interested in each other, but Tim doesn't want to get involved with someone who should be "home for your mom and dad" and continues to try to get rid of him.
At the dinner party, Robin makes several comments intended to remind Julian of the fact that he saw him earlier, leading to him making an angry outburst at the dinner table. Terry is out on Clapham Common where he meets a guy sat on a bench and sits next to him. The guy is clearly terrified of him, shaking when he offers him a match to light his cigarette. Terry engages him in small talk, with the underlying motive of working out whether the guy is gay or not. Fortunately for him, they are interrupted by cries from Alfie in the bushes and he escapes. Alfie has been badly beat up, but instead of helping him, Terry instead steals Will's ring from him.
The dinner party is disturbed by an ambulance arriving, having found Alfie on the common. Belinda is clearly distressed by this, running outside to see what has happened. Meanwhile, Will and Gavin are sat on a bench in another part of Clapham Common, Will having fallen asleep on Gavin's shoulder. Gavin cuddles up to Will, and looks out over London. Terry returns home to his nan who is asleep in bed, while the dinner party discussion turns to gay men and sex in public places. The conversation clearly makes Robin uncomfortable, as Marion rants on about a perceived tendency to "push it [homosexuality] in your face". Belinda, clearly still upset by the beating that has occurred outside, breaks up the argument, making the point that "no one deserves to be treated like that", regardless of whether he was a straight man walking through the park or "sniffing around and fucking like a dog in the bushes".
Back in Tim's flat, Theo confesses to him how he watches him at night and masturbates over the sight. Theo gets upset when Tim laughs at this admission, but they then bond as Tim reassures him that "people are...scared of being different" and "you'll be happy enough". He admits to watching Theo too, and, although he continues to protest, Theo seduces him and they passionately kiss. Theo is the one in control of the situation; he undresses Tim, gives him a blowjob and then penetrates him on the floor. It is even implied that he is the one who is more sexually experienced, as Tim asks "Where'd you learn this". This scene is intercut with scenes of the dinner party, where Theo's parents discuss a neighbour who they believe to be a paedophile. When it is mentioned that the neighbour was recently petrol-bombed, it becomes clear that they are actually discussing Tim. Following this discussion, Natasha demands to go home to "see how my baby is". Returning home, she of course finds Theo missing from his room and catches sight of him, now dressed again, in Tim's flat. She heads over there, chased by her husband and eventually finds the flat. Theo is notably calm, maintaining the excuse that he came over to give Tim back his pen. Natasha clearly doesn't believe him ("I can smell it") and threatens Tim before leaving.
The next morning, we find that Alfie has died as a result of his injuries. Robin repeatedly insists, both on leaving the dinner party the night before and again the next morning, that Julian should report anything he saw in the toilets to the police. He refuses, and, as far as we know, does nothing. Terry meets another guy in the park with the apparent intention of again trying to teach gay men a lesson, but he is instead the one being taught as he is lured in the woods and beaten up by Merv, a much larger guy. He is treated in hospital by Gavin, who discovers the ring on his finger and asks Will about it, who claims to have taken the ring to the jeweller's. Will then turns on the television and discovers that Alfie has been murdered.
We again see Theo watching and wanking to the sight of Tim in his flat. Their eyes meet and Theo stands up, appearing fully naked before Tim. In response, Tim closes the curtains. At Danny's music lesson, his teacher observes kids taunting him through the window. She asks him about it, but he claims that nothing's bothering him. He is chased again on the way home, and the closing scene shows his fiddle lying smashed in the rain-soaked entrance to the tunnel.
The drama was shown as part of a short season by Channel 4 to mark the 40th anniversary of decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales. The drama caused controversy and received a mixed reaction - particularly from gay viewers who felt it a negative portrayal of gay men, though some found it intelligent and thought-provoking. Producer Elinor Day stated in The Independent that the intention was to raise awareness of homophobia. Interviewed in The Telegraph, writer Kevin Elyot said he did not intend a drama that lectured viewers; “This film is absolutely not that. I never, ever – I hope – point the finger.” 
Clapham Junction was inspired by the vicious murder of Jody Dobrowski that happened 14 October 2005 on Clapham Common (the character Alfie played by David Leon is based on the actual events).
Pet Shop Boys track
In the first screening on 22 July 2007, "I'm With Stupid" by the British music duo Pet Shop Boys was used as background music in the scene containing Terry's homophobic assault on the guy from the club. The assailant, played by Paul Nicholls, told his victim he hated the Pet Shop Boys as he assaulted him. However, when the programme was repeated on Channel 4's digital channel "More 4" a few days later on 30 July 2007, the scene had been altered and the Pet Shop Boys track was replaced. The character's dialogue was also dubbed to remove references to the Pet Shop Boys. This was done at the request of the Pet Shop Boys.
- Tom Beard as Roger Hopkirk
- James Bellamy
- Rachel Blake as Belinda Hopkirk
- Samantha Bond as Marion Rowan
- Stuart Bunce as Gavin
- Philip Childs
- Jason Frederick
- Rupert Graves as Robin Cape
- Johnny Harris as Tough Man
- Francis Lee as Murray
- David Leon as Alfie
- Richard Lintern as Will
- Joseph Mawle as Tim
- Paul Nicholls as Terry
- Phoebe Nicholls as Natasha
- Lucy Russell as Miss Richards
- Jared Thomas as Danny
- Luke Treadaway as Theo
- June Watson as Nan
- James Wilby as Julian Rowan
- English-language films
- Channel 4 television programmes
- British LGBT-related television programmes
- British television films
- 2007 television films
- 2007 in British television
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