You know the story. Which story? The story of man named Brady, who was busy with three boys of his own. And what about that other story -“ the one of the lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely girls. They all had hair of gold, and a suspiciously absent father. Absent, that is, until that one fateful day, when this lady met that fellow.

The rest, they say, is history. Over five seasons of life with The Brady Bunch, thithter Thindy almost lost her lisp, Peter’s voice broke, Greg became hot and Marcia almost got to move into the attic. Mike hung out in his den, and Carol didn’t really do anything -“ a full-time mother existing to supervise a full-time housekeeper.

There was a whole generation who grew up watching Mr, Mrs, Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy Brady living their white-bread dream life. But none of us kids who saw the Brady’s card house-building, voice-breaking agonies and ecstasies the first time around would have seen the show as the camp classic it would one day become.

But the signs were always there. Housekeeper Alice was an early television lesbian, a butch with a butcher boyfriend. And Mr Brady, the perfect television father, was much more interesting off-screen.

The actor who played Mike Brady, Robert Reed, was actually, and quietly, a gay man, a fact he never really went public with. But his sexuality became widely known when he died in 2002. He was HIV-positive, a detail the tabloids milked at the time. His on-television son Greg, Barry Williams, told Sydney Star Observer during a recent visit to Australia the whole cast always knew America’s favourite dad was queer. Williams said the Bradys were close friends off-set, and he helped to organise Reed’s funeral.

But openly gay or openly nay, the family behind The Brady Bunch really knew how to camp it up -“ especially when they started bringing those variety performances into the show. Those outfits, those dance-steps. They may never have been allowed to play ball in the house, but ‘dem Bradys sure could sing and dance.

Barry Williams (that’s Greg Brady to me and you) is hosting a Brady Bunch Marathon on TV1 during the Queen’s Birthday weekend. That’s right, all five seasons, all 117 episodes over four days of Brady-mania. The special starts on Friday 11 June at 6:30pm and runs until Monday 14 June at 8:30pm.

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