A rare clip of Sean Connery kissing another man in a ground-breaking 1960 TV film is to be shown in Edinburgh.
He may be famous for portraying ladies man and super-spy James Bond but this shock footage shows the actor partaking in what is believed to have been the first man-on-man screen kiss.
The footage – set to be shown in Scotland for the first time ever at the Filmhouse – was filmed for a drama and lost for years.
The less-than-romantic smooch featured in BBC play Colombe, which was first broadcast in 1960, before Edinburgh-born Sir Sean, 83, became the household name he is today.
The recording was discovered by an American researcher in Washington DC back in 2010, along with more than 60 other recordings dating from 1957-69 which had been presumed lost.
Evening News film critic Jonathan Melville has been working with the British Film Institute’s Missing Believed Wiped project to organise the first screening of the Connery-kiss in Scotland in over 50 years. He said: “Back in the 1960s and 70s many BBC television programmes were simply shown once and then the recordings were taped over. This may seem like sacrilege to us, but people didn’t have the same nostalgia for TV of the bygone days back then, it was too new.
“When colour television came in, many just assumed that no-one would ever want to watch the old black and white shows again. And of course, Sir Sean was just another bit-part actor in those days!
“The kiss is actually between him and an actor called Richard Pasco, who was playing his character’s brother. That sounds quite bad, but it’s not actually a sexual thing – Sir Sean’s character believes his brother is having an affair with his wife, and wants to know what makes him such a good kisser. So the first gay kiss on British TV still goes to EastEnders, a whole 27 years later.”
The Missing Believed Wiped Project has been running showings in London for 20 years and is now coming to the Capital for the first time.
Jonathan said: “The Filmhouse will be showing the play in a double bill with an episode of Doctor Who from the 1960s, possibly one of the ones discovered recently that were thought to have been deleted. There will also be extracts from Lulu’s TV show It’s Lulu, amateur film taken at The Lucky White Heather Club and long-thought-to-be-lost footage of At Last – The 1948 Show which was a precursor to Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”
It’s hoped that the screenings could become an annual event – and may result in more lost programmes being discovered in dusty corners.
Dick Fiddy, BFI coordinator of the Missing Believed Wiped project, said: “Perhaps it will inspire more people to have a look at what’s gathering dust in the attic? There’s bound to be a lot of amazing footage out there.”