Ahead of Sunday's live Big Pride Party, Joe Lycett reveals all...

Category: Interview

What can you tell us about your Big Pride Party?

It’s a live two hour celebration of LGBTQ+ culture. Hopefully it’ll be thought-provoking, nostalgic, a little moving and ideally funny! All are welcome and we have an insanely good line up.

What does Pride mean to you?

For a long time I didn't really get pride. I couldn’t understand how I could be proud of something I didn’t have a choice in. I didn’t choose to be bisexual. But as I’ve grown I’ve realised I did have a choice, a choice to be open and brave and say, ‘this is who I am’. I think pride is many things to many people, but to me it’s pride in taking that leap.

Any line up that includes Rosie Jones is bound to descend into chaos. What can we expect from her involvement in the show?

My lawyers have issued this statement: ‘Our client cannot speak to Rosie Jones (the defendant) or about the defendant until legal proceedings and a trial have concluded. Our client requests privacy at this time.’

You have a pretty incredible line up already but who would be the ultimate on your guest wish list?

Our line-up is SENSATIONAL, and I feel spoilt as it is. My queer icon growing up was Quentin Crisp, but alas he’s been dead for some time. I would’ve loved to meet him and interview him. Thankfully there’s some amazing stuff on YouTube, so I can get my fix.

How’s the wardrobe looking for the night? Any teasers you can give us?

My stylist has issued this statement: ‘Can’t wait to see you in this look.’

You’ll be showing some of the queer clips that changed Britain as part of the show. Which moments would you say feature in yours?

Any television that includes Nick Knowles or Alan Sugar.

Pride events very much vary in scale from Brighton, London and Manchester etc to smaller events in towns and villages across the country. Do you think it's important all towns celebrate pride, and will you be attending any parties bar your own?

I’ve already been to a small pride in Birmingham this year and will try to get to the main pride there later this summer. I’m a big advocate for the smaller pride parties - the big ones are fantastic in lots of ways, but I love it when pride can come to local communities. 

What are your best memories of Pride over the years?

I met a lesbian couple at pride once who had just got married. Their biological families had rejected them and so they decided to go to pride for their wedding party because, in their words, they wanted to be ‘with our family.’ That’s what it’s all about to me.

What advice would you give to those people attending their first Pride events this year?

Be yourself. Make friends. Drink water.

Might you be righting some consumer wrongs as part of the show?

Not quite. But we will be highlighting some of the issues facing our community today in a fun and light-hearted way.

The show will be coming live from your hometown of Birmingham. How do you feel about that?

It seems like such a waste. Why do it in Birmingham? London would've been better. London is a great city. The capital. All the best things happen there. The tube! A Soho House on every corner! Pret! What's Birmingham got? 

Your Instagram gardening updates have become the stuff of legend. Will you be providing the foliage on the night?

That’s a good point. I’ll see if I can get some of those thirsty little bitches down to the studio.

What would you class as the most LGBTQ+ friendly plants and flowers?

It is scientifically proven that gay people are allergic to most of the 11,000 different species of grass found around the world. I was once at a bottomless brunch where chicken with lemongrass was served and sadly 18 drag queens died. 

Channel 4 has proudly championed LGBTQ+ content for forty years now. How important for you is it that your Pride Party is the climax to the channel’s Proud All Over programming this year?

It’s great Channel 4 are championing this. They’ve been at the forefront of this stuff for a long time, and it was always the channel I loved growing up, commissioning bold shows that no one else would. So much queer talent is launched by Channel 4, myself included. We should fight for it to remain independent and publicly owned. It does more for us than we know.

2022 marks 50 years of Pride in the UK. Where do you hope we will be in 50 years from now?

I hope I will be sipping crisp Gavi di Gavi on the Riviera watching old episodes of Tipping Point. As for the LGBTQ+ community? I don’t care.

You’re in the midst of a massive UK tour at the moment. How has it been getting back out on the road and performing to audiences?

I hate it. The British public stink. 

Any new projects you can tell us about?

I am thrilled to announce I have been asked to replace Jeremy Clarkson as host of Amazon Prime’s ‘The Grand Tour’.