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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 13:13 GMT
Gay actors pigeonholed, Fry says
copyright ITV
Stephen Fry stars as Peter Kingdom in ITV's hit drama
Actor Stephen Fry has revealed his frustration at being pigeonholed as gay in TV and film roles.

"I think the fact that I'm so well known to be gay makes it very difficult to have a convincing relationship with a woman on screen," he said.

In the Radio Times interview, he also criticised the way straight actors are congratulated for playing gay parts.

"People say: 'Ooh, how brave of you.' Why should it be difficult for a man to kiss another man?"

He was being interviewed about his starring role in the ITV series Kingdom, in which his character, the lawyer Peter Kingdom, is single.

It wouldn't be at all difficult for me to kiss a woman - I'll kiss a frog if you like
Stephen Fry
He pointed out nobody tells a gay actor: "How brave of you to kiss that woman, that must have been very difficult for you."

He told the magazine: "It wouldn't be at all difficult for me to kiss a woman - I'll kiss a frog if you like. It's difficult to ride bareback backwards while unicycling, but to kiss someone isn't difficult.

"It's just part of the insanely irrational way that the human mind works."

Coming out

Fry has never made any secret of his sexuality and has campaigned for gay equality.

"If you have had the experiences I have had, not to share them where they can be useful is just mean.

John Barrowman
John Barrowman says actors should be more confident in coming out
"The obvious case is coming out as a gay man, which I did when it was quite a rare thing to do.

"You think of the average person in the playground who's terrified of being beaten up, or the people who are not in a job like mine, where it doesn't really matter.

"These people need to be reassured that they're not alone and they're not freaks."

'Just sad'

Meanwhile, fellow actor John Barrowman has gone further and criticised gay performers who fail to declare their sexuality.

"I know people who lie about being gay because they think it will affect their work chances. And that is just sad," he told The Stage.

Barrowman, who is about to star in another series of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood, added: "I remember years ago when Saturday Night Fever was being cast and someone told me it was because I was openly gay that I did not get the part.

"But I think that is a bunch of rubbish because I was so not right for that part anyway. If it has affected me in any way, I don't know."

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