Sunday, 21 December 2014

Russell T Davies: Bananas

Davies continued with his first draft of Cucumber. The spark for it had been unexpected: Graham Norton.

“He shamed me into doing it,” Davies hoots. “Shamed me on Radio 2, live on air, while I was doing a promo for Doctor Who. ‘Why don’t you write something proper, about real gay men, again?’ he said. ‘Like Queer as Folk.’ I walked across Manchester’s MediaCity feeling chastised. But he was right. Graham Norton was right, thank God.”

Ten years before, Queer as Folk had been Davies’s calling card to the wider world. Having spent the previous decade writing Children’s Ward, Why Don’t You?, The Grand and Dark Season – which starred a young Kate Winslet – Queer as Folk was clearly in a different league: something so unmistakably from the heart, wildly inventive, joyous, angry, filthy and funny that it changed people’s ideas of “gay drama” overnight. It was genuinely revolutionary.

“Before it went out, everyone thought it was going to be Channel 4’s worthy gay drama,” Davies recalls. “All vegan protesters and Aids. The only gay characters we’d had [on British TV] before were ones dying on EastEnders. People weren’t expecting this.”

1 comment:

  1. I can still remember the shock and excitement of watching Queer as Folk, but there were gay characters before. Not many, but a few. This Life had "Warren" in its first series (several years before QaF), who admittedly was in therapy, but he was a massive step up from Colin and thingy on Eastenders. He left later on and then another two gay characters came into it who bonked all the time. I definitely think that was the first show to raise the stakes and show gay characters in a more realistic, non-depressing way.