We’ll always have Jason King, but it’s farewell to Peter Wyngarde

If you’re looking for a style icon for early 1970s British manhood, chances are that the name Jason King will pop up. The character appeared in two TV series each with only a single season, and yet despite being outrageously camp, the slightly world-weary figure of Jason came to sum up the suave over-dressed cologne-drenched cool of the time in a way only rivalled by James Bond.

The irony is that Peter Wyngarde, who played him – and arguably was cursed by the role – was certainly bisexual, though he never came out publicly..

Although he had a starring role in the film version of Flash Gordon, he was defined by the role of Jason King.  His later years weren’t his best times as an actor, Peter Wyngarde can also claim his place in LGTB history, playing a gay soldier in an American Civil War drama broadcast by UK independent television in 1959, when homosexuality was still illegal. It’s reckoned to be the earliest known gay TV drama.

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