Mr Gay UK 2000 - Grand Final in Birmingham

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Like every year the Mr Gay UK team were out and about searching the UK high and low for a new spunky lad to inherit this years title of Mr Gay UK 2000. They held heats as far north as Aberdeen up in Scotland to Brighton on the South coast of England, even as far as Truro in the Southwest and Belfast in Northern Ireland. In all there were 30 finalists representing different venues across the country.

The build up had been big and as the grand final was also being held in Birmingham on the same weekend as the city's annual lesbian and gay pride it turned out to be a very busy weekend. The contestants all stayed at the Crown Plaza Hotel in the centre of the city. The day started early at 10am with a briefing on what the day had install for everyone. The contestants were then encouraged to spend a few hours in the hotel leisure centre that included a gym and swimming pool to help familiarise with each other and it also provided a great opportunity for me to get some photos.

In the afternoon the contestants separated into 3 groups of ten. Each group then visited the DNA club for rehearsals and to accustom them to the venue. Throughout the day there were also interviews and photo shoots taking place with the shows producer Gordon Hopps back at the hotel.

Early evening approached and to get the ball rolling there was a pre party at 52 Degrees North just down the road from DNA. It was a place to meet the contestants and celebrities who'd be doing the judging. It was a good buzzing atmosphere but you could tell there were some nervous faces amongst them.

10 o'clock approached and people were starting to fill the nightclub to see the show. It was a good choice of venue with many levels that over looked the main stage. The show kicked off at 11pm two friends of mine and myself opened the show by doing a special dance act to the Mr Gay UK theme tune. Hosting the show was the sexy Tim Vincent from Blue Peter and The Clothes Show and comic actress Rhona Cameron who also presented Channel 4's Gay Time TV. They both introduced the celebrity judges who included Denise Welsh and John Savident from Coronation Street, Christopher Biggins and Billy Murry from ITV's The Bill.

The contestants then were brought onto stage one-by-one first answering a few questions and then giving a small dance up the catwalk. They came out in many different fantasy costumes and theme's anything from a painter to a lifeguard and from a soldier to sailor. Once on the catwalk the clothes were soon stripped off to reveal there sexy tanned, toned bodies dressed in just their skimpy yet revealing trunks.

The 3 batches of 10 contestants were separated with live acts from PA's to give the judges time to tot up the scores. Angie Brown was 1st out and stole the show with a top performance. Duo Boy band "Mero" were second out and then while all the scores where being counted another boy band "4-Sure" took to the stage followed by our very own Eurovision songstress Niki French with her well known single "Don't Play That Song Again". Mean while there was a tense atmosphere backstage amongst the contestants while they waited for the results.

Mr Gay UK 2000Jon Savident who plays Fred Elliott in Coronation Street took to the stage to award the 1st and 2nd runners-up. 3rd place went to the very sexy Richard Hedges, 25 who represented Central Station in London (pictured above). 2nd was awarded to Carl Austin, 28 from Paradise Factory in Manchester. Then it was the big moment that everyone had been waiting for. Mark Ledsham the previous Mr Gay UK of 1999 was invited onto stage to hand over his crown. Terry George the event organiser then announced the winner. The drums rolled... everyone looked on in anticipation... it was the mega sexy, yet cute Harry French, just 19 years old representing Bennet's in Glasgow who inherited the title. Paratecknicks and confetti cannons all exploded as he took to the catwalk to show off his cup and take his first few moments as the UK's newest gay role model.

He originates from North Africa where he then moved to Scotland to be with the rest of his family. He has a boyfriend, Ewan Brown - whom he's been going out with for over a year. Harry works as a lifeguard which I think also helped win him his crown with his sexy red speedos that had Lifeguard written across the back. He measures up to be 5ft 8" tall, 75kg in weight and a 30" waist.