Finalists Sam Kneen from Cardiff, Nik Chapman from Newcastle and Greg Lumley from Middlesbrough. Read their manifestos below.
It’s the crowning of Mr Gay UK, a post which has seen an interregnum for three years, but is now back with finalists from local heats who will be sorted into winner and runners-up next month, reports Martin Wainwright on the UK’s Guardian newspaper’s Northerner Blog.
I’m not quite sure what the Guardian
‘s attitude, or that of its readers, is tobeauty
contests but that’s what the Comments thread is for, so please fire away. Certainly, this particular competition has a history which is every bit as colourful as Miss World
‘s if not more so. I know you need to treat Wikipedia with caution, but its entry on Mr Gay UK
is awash with curiosity-tempting links.
Anyway, no one can fault the organisers’ historiography which makes this celebrity-rich point:
Many star names have also been associated with the contest: Lily Savage, Jason Donovan, Phil Olivier, Graham Norton, Sonya, Jane McDonald, Tim Vincent, Rhona Cameron, the late Paula Yates and Michelle Heaton are just some of the names who have hosted the final. Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Wilson, Jean Paul Gaultier, Denise Van Outen, Antony Cotton, Danny La Rue, Justin Fashanu, Anita Dobson, Sue Pollard and a host of TV and soap stars are just a few of the fabulous people who have acted as celebrity judges.
The event runs regional heats in nightclubs to sort out the final contenders. Originally known as Mr Hardware, it reached the heights of a broadcast on Channel 5
in 1998 and 1999 and was part of the Channel 4
Leeds own regional finalists. You can see what the city’s own champion John Wheeldon thinks, right and below.
The Leeds coronation and final judging at the Mission
on 10 December will follow online voting via all the usual outlets which is explained here
. Apart from the fun and razzamatazz, there are prizes including a professional photo-shoot in Morocco, the chance to enter Mr. Gay Europe and £2000 in cash.
Here’s what the pictured finalists have to say, starting with Leeds’ John Wheeldon, who’s 28 and works in sales accounts:
What made you enter Mr Gay UK this year?:
I’ve wanted to do it since I first came out a few years ago, and it’s the first time I’ve been single and been ready – and I thought at 28 it’s now or never really.
How did you feel when you won the heat?
I didn’t really believe it at first. I thought they were joking; I think the nerves got the better of me. Then they gave me this bunch of flowers and I was just really happy.
How do you feel about the final?
It’s just really nerve wracking isn’t it. I’m looking forward to getting all my family and friends and hopefully all of Leeds together. I like competition.
What will you do with the money if you win
Well, I need to buy a new boiler first off. Then I’ll treat myself; I want to travel the world, so I might go away somewhere. I’ve always wanted to got to Thailand
Same questions to Samuel Kneen
who’s 22 and a hairdresser:
My friends persuaded me, and I thought it might help with my confidence. I’ve been going to the gym a lot for the past year.
Ecstatic, I couldn’t believe it! It was a huge surge to my confidence, which I’ve had a bit of trouble with in the past
Very nervous. I hope people will vote for me. If they do I’ll be so appreciative. I just hope they can see my potential, and if I win I’ll do my best to work hard for them
Well I’ll pay off some of my debts, and give some to my dad, who’s helped me out a lot when I’ve had money troubles. My firend Craig works for Terrence Higgins Trust, so I think I’ll give them some money, and the rest I’ll put on a bond for a new flat I think. I would have maybe gone on holiday, but I suppose I’ve got the trip to Morocco if I win anyway. Oh I’ll take all my friends for a night out
And to Newcastle
‘s Nik Chapman
who’s 25 and a bar manager:
It was a challenge, I heard about it a couple of weeks before and I thought it was a good challenge to get myself into shape
It might sound a bit cheesy, but I was a bit overwhelmed. It was done by cheering and having all those people cheering for me was really overwhelming, I was really happy.
I’m a bit nervous, I’d love to get into the final three
It’s really boring but my car’s in negative equity, so I’d really like to pay it off – it’s a nice car though, BMW
And Greg Lumley, Middlesbrough’s champion, a 27-year-old graphic designer:
Well actually, I wasn’t going to, because I wasn’t really confident enough to do it. But when I got there I just thought why not? You only live once!”
Amazing, I really didn’t think I’d win. I thought the other guys cheers were louder than mine. I was more than chuffed”
Excited, but after seeing some of the other finalists I don’t feel too confident”
It might sound boring, but I’d put it towards a deposit for a flat