QUEERS
BBC4, 10pm

THIS is brilliant.

Queers offers a series of dramatic monologues exploring gay love across the century. Each episode is only 20 minutes long, and feels close and intense.

The Man On The Platform is the first and is written and directed by Mark Gatiss. Set in 1917, a soldier is home from the war and speaks to the camera as he enjoys a Guinness in a smoky pub.

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Perce talks about the horrors he’s seen but is never boastful or loud. Instead he seems haunted by something. Soon his reminiscences wander into memories of men he’s known, and he talks of the importance of a gaze held for just a moment too long, “a certain liquidity of the eye.” When another man stares at Perce “he knows me for what I am. He can see it in me. And I start to shake, and it’s not from the cold it’s from shame. And fear and terror.” He tells the story of two incidents on a train platform, the latter utterly heart-breaking.

ORKNEY: WHEN THE BOAT COMES IN
BBC1, 7.30pm

YOU may think of Orkney as empty and serene, but the cruise ships are going in and out “faster than Jimmy Shand’s accordion” and the islands have been declared “the cruise ship capital of the UK”.

We know Venice is rebelling against the constant arrival of these massive ships which send a furious wake against delicate buildings and disgorge thousands of tourists into the narrow streets, but how is Orkney coping?

On the busiest days, Kirkwall’s population can double. We join the locals as the biggest ship, the Preciosa, has docked, bringing 4000 passengers.

“I wanna find coasters with the family name!” shouts one American tourist. “Those are horses!” yells another, looking around in amazement.

We meet local business owners whose tills obviously welcome the tourists, but what about Orkney’s infrastructure, the environment, the fragile Neolithic sites, and the famous serenity some may expect on these far islands?