‘Queer as Folk’ creator Russell T. Davies talks capturing joy in new LOGO series ‘Cucumber’ and ‘Banana’
Russell T. Davies, creator of British TV series Queer as Folk and credited for re-inventing the sci-fi classic Doctor Who is launching two new series on Logo TV starting today. Banana and Cucumber, as parallel dramas featuring the same characters and overlapping story lines.
Cucumber will be an hour-long show about the lives of a nine-year strong gay couple in Manchester, England. Banana will be a thirty-minute show revolving around some of the younger characters from Cucumber and focus on their love lives.
The series, and an additional, connected online-series in the UK called Tofu, were named after a European study on the hardness of the male erection. The scale has a four part range: tofu, peeled banana, banana and cucumber.
According to the Daily Mail, Davies had written the script for Cucumber when his partner, Andrew Smith, was diagnosed with brain cancer. They left Los Angeles to return to their homes in central Manchester for Smith’s treatment. Now the show is being pushed at full speed with the help of the Logo Network, who Davies said has been supportive since the beginning.
Although the shows are set in England, Davies said he doesn’t think the culture gap will be too wide for an American audience.
“Gay men are gay men and gay women are gay women in the west, certainly wherever you are,” Davies said. “I think there might be in terms of minting a British drama, there might be simple cultural differences. They might refer to television programs that you’ve never heard of. But we’ve put up with that in reverse for years over there,” he joked.
It’s been 16 years since Davies created the original Queer as Folk. Davies said when it came out in 1999 there were comparatively fewer gay characters on television. Since then, the number of LGBT characters has grown but he believes there was still a lot of material not being explored.
“I found myself looking at what wasn’t being said,” Davies said, “and I’m really happy to write that stuff. So I was looking this time at middle-aged gay men, what they go through, their sex lives, the details of those sex lives without being sexy.”
Without being sexy, Davies said, meant genuinely analyzing the mechanics of sex and all of the attitudes associated with it.
Davies said he admires the way one of his favorite shows on ABC, How To Get Away with Murder, has pushed the boundaries on illustrating gay sexual relationships. But he did say there can be great gay characters on television without detailing their sex life.
“I don’t want it to be become too sort of issue-laden and even though the politics are important to me, in the end it’s about (the show’s characters), it’s about love,” Davies said.
The relationship between Henry Best and Lance Sullivan will be the focal point of the series. Henry is a 46 year old man in a “slightly dull job with a nice settled relationship” Davies said. But in the first episode of the series, they have date night and their world explodes.
Each series places the spotlight on the LGBT community, but Davies doesn’t think the allure falls only on a gay audience.
“I’m always writing for everyone really. I think if you’re writing well, that it does appeal to everyone,” he said.
Davies mentioned an episode of Banana about a 62-year-old single lesbian named Vanessa. He said her loneliness and frustration is relatable without being 62-years-old or a lesbian.
“We’ve all felt lonely. We’ve all felt heartbroken. We’ve all felt in love with the wrong person and that’s how Vanessa feels. So it’s those moments of connection that I think are universal. That’s not for a gay audience, that’s for everyone.”
Davies credits casting director Andy Pryor with creating the face of the show in Vincent Franklin as Henry and his character’s boyfriend who is played by Cyril Nri.
“That’s the joy of it in the end. The actors. God bless ‘em,” Davies said.
They are responsible for creating those moments of humanity that Davies said is what these shows are really about.
“Everyone has felt heartbroken in some shape or form at some point,” Davies said. “And in those moments we’re all human and in those moments we’re all the same people. So that’s the greatest joy. I think the imperative of life actually is to find those moments where we all connect.”
Cucumber and Banana will join the growing ranks of TV programs featuring LGBT characters today, April 13 on LOGO.
A documentary on Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay college student from Wyoming who was attacked and murdered in a hate crime in 1998, will premiere tonight on Logo at 9 pm. ”Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine,” follows director Michele Josue, a close friend of Matt’s, as she travels to important locations in Matthew’s [...]July 27, 2015
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