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Press release

  • 30 November 2006

Student is star of TV documentary about gay life

Holly Sheppard: Student and TV star

Holly Sheppard: Student and TV star

A University of Sussex student is one of the stars of a Channel 4 educational documentary about the lives of young gay people.

Holly Sheppard, a 21-year-old Sociology and Gender Studies undergraduate now in her third year at Sussex, is featured enjoying a typical Sussex student lifestyle - from studying to socialising with friends.

The series, entitled Gay - Z, made by Brighton-based company Lambent Productions, follows young gay and bisexual people from diverse backgrounds getting on with their everyday lives and aims to go some way towards tackling homophobia in schools.

Holly, who features in three of the five episodes screened from 27 November 27 to 1 December, talks about her life and is seen enjoying Gay Pride weekend in August this year. She was also filmed handing in essays and visiting the library on campus.

The series presents the kinds of challenges that young people might face when being open about their sexuality. Some lose contact with families and friends, while new opportunities open up for others.

"Mine is a happy story," says Holly. "I've never had any problems being gay and my whole family were completely fine from the start. I think that was why they focused on me. It showed how life can be good for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people - and that it isn't all about problems."

Holly got involved after reading an email plea from Lambent Productions, asking for young gay people to take part in a documentary. "I was having a funny five minutes so I called the production company and had a chat with a researcher - and we took it from there.

"The first couple of times they pointed a camera at me it was a bit embarrassing - having a camera crew following you while you're just hanging out with your friends. But I soon got used to it and it was a lot of fun because the crew were great."

Filming took place intermittently between May and August of this year. Holly got to see the final edits and was pretty pleased with the results. "The show is educational - it's aimed not just at gays but at all teenagers in general. It shows how LGBT people are just like everybody else."

Holly, who lives off campus and is concentrating on her final exams, job-hunting and travelling plans, has thoroughly enjoyed her time at Sussex. "Brighton is a great place to be. It makes it easier to be 'out'. There are also far more opportunities here to meet people - you can't fail to be happy."

Notes for editors

Notes for Editors

  • The programmes run from Mon 27 Nov to Fri 1 Dec, at 9.30am daily, on Channel 4. The series will be repeated as part of a special Gay Season in the New Year.
  • Photo of Holly Sheppard available on request.
  • The LGBT is a Student Union organisation that offers Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people a safe and supportive environment. See: or send an e-mail to:  

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