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The Extraordinary Life Of April Ashley airs Mon 4 July on Channel 4

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This single documentary tells the epic story of how one transgender woman changed Britain and how Britain changed for transgender people. April, who died last year (2021) at the age of 86, was one of Britain’s most prominent transgender women – a model, dancer and restaurateur, whose life took her from the slums of wartime Liverpool to the height of Knightsbridge society.

In the late 1950s, April became a dancer in an infamous Parisian nightclub, before travelling to Casablanca to undergo pioneering gender reassignment surgery. Returning to Britain, she became a model for Vogue before being outed by a tabloid newspaper.

From then on, her life was a rollercoaster involving celebrity friendships, a landmark divorce trial at the Royal Courts of Justice, and an MBE for services to transgender equality. Through April’s story, and interviews with a stellar cast of contributors, this film offers a journey inside the intimate reality of the transgender experience, exploring how this celebrated trailblazer paved the way for future generations of transgender people.

Prod/Dir: Jane Preston; Prod: Joe Fell; Exec Prods: Neil Crombie, Joe Evans; Prod Co: Swan

Airdate: Monday 4 July 2022 at 10.00pm on Channel 4.