Sir Ian McKellen has said TV has "grown up" on the subject of gay characters in his new sitcom Vicious.
The Hobbit actor stars in the new comedy about a gay couple which he told The Sun will not be an expose of gay life.
Sir Ian, 73, said: "It's a fairly traditional sitcom which reminds me of The Golden Girls or I Love Lucy.
"It's not aiming to shock people. It won't alarm anyone. It isn't a satire or an expose of gay life. These characters just happen to be gay. For me, it is as if TV has grown up."
Sir Ian also said he is pleased that the jokes in the show don't come from the fact that the characters are gay.
"In the past, gay characters in sitcoms have been figures of fun.
"They were funny because they were gay. But I like the fact that these characters are funny because of the people they are.”