About the show
I Miss the War is one of eight monologues in the collection Queers, curated by Mark Gatiss and commissioned by the BBC to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act.
Sexual Offences Act
The Sexual Offences Act of 1967 legalized homosexual acts in England and Wales, on the condition that they were consensual, in private, and between two men who had attained the age of 21. While the law reduced some risks of some sorts of gay activity, there was also a subsequent crackdown on queer activities that were not protected by the law. Prosecutions for gross indecency tripled in the decade after its passage. Lord Arran, one of the bill’s sponsors, noted its passage by asking homosexuals “to show their thanks by comporting themselves quietly and with dignity… [since] any form of public flaunting would … make the sponsors of this bill regret … what they had done.”
Spoken in the theatre, navy, and by the criminal underworld, incorporating Italianate words, rhyming slang, and Romany, Polari became a secret vocabulary used by the queer community from the late 19th century until the 1970’s. It was popularized outside the subculture in the 1960’s through the radio program Round the Horn. Some Polari words survive in general use: butch, camp, trade. For a short film in Polari, see Putting on the Dish.