One of the main BBC Ghosts characters, The Captain was revealed as a closeted gay man early on. How has this impacted the show’s wider story?
Of all the characters on BBC Ghosts, perhaps none are more intriguing than The Captain.
Five seasons in and viewers still don’t know his real name or exactly how he died.
As the title suggests, he is a military captain, specifically the Second World War.
At face value, one might assume the character is one note or a stereotype.
He’s stern, analytical and organised to a fault and has long seen himself as leader of the Button House ghosts.
Sounds like a typical soldier, right?
However, here’s a curveball: he’s gay although very much closeted, even in death.
The Captain grew up in a time where being openly gay wasn’t an option.
Despite seeing how times have changed, The Captain has yet to officially to come out to his friends, both living and dead.
Multiple characters – namely Alison (Charlotte Ritchie), Robin (Laurence Rickard) and Julian (Simon Farnaby) imply that they are aware but haven’t broached the topic as of yet.
So, how have the writers used The Captain’s sexuality in regards to the story?
After all, Ben Willbond, who plays the role, is also one of the co-creators/executive producers.
Early BBC Ghosts episodes had subtle hints involving The Captain making suggestive comments to/about men he seemed to find attractive.
This includes Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) when he first arrived as well as Adam, a film director who appeared in an episode.
As for addressing Cap’s sexuality itself, Redding Weddy comes above all other episodes.
Viewers might recall this being the first time showing The Captain while still alive.
During the episode, the audience learns Cap had feelings for his lieutenant, Havers (Peter Sandys-Clarke).
He was heartbroken when Havers transferred to North Africa to join the front line.
Despite Havers only appearing in one episode, the impact of Cap’s feelings looms large for fans.
A quick Google search pulls up substantial FanFiction, tweets and “shipping” for the two characters.
Cap’s perception of being gay versus modern standards and greater acceptance is a carefully struck balance.
Fundamentally, although BBC Ghosts is a comedy, the writers do not treat Cap’s sexuality as a punchline.
Rather than play with a gay 1940s-era soldier for laughs, there is utmost respect.
However, The Captain does not a good job of hiding his sexuality.
While he doesn’t advertise it, past comments make it clear to those around him.
Over time, Cap being gay has evolved from vague suggestions to a major plot point in multiple episodes.
He seems to come close to revealing all in Something To Share? but fell short.
With the show soon ending, one wonders about the loose threads in his story.
For instance, how did he die? What’s his real name? What became of Havers?
Knowing these writers’ strong track record, it seems all will be clear once all is said and done.