Rus­sell T Davies


RTD on... why Cu­cum­ber was so long in the mak­ing. The first episode I’d had writ­ten in the be­gin­ning of 2011 and I was liv­ing in Amer­ica, work­ing with Show­time, who made the Amer­i­can ver­sion of Queer as Folk. They had happy mem­o­ries of that and wanted the next gen­er­a­tion of stuff and it was all sys­tems go. We were home for like two weeks in the sum­mer and An­drew [Rus­sell’s part­ner] was di­ag­nosed ill and that was that. I just stopped work there and then. For­tu­nately it was a mir­a­cle that he got his di­ag­no­sis while we were in Bri­tain, be­cause if we’d been in Amer­ica you can’t fly. You’re for­bid­den from fly­ing be­cause of the pres­sure on your skull, so we’d have been stuck over there. Strange, strange days. This just sat there then. I’m a very good saver so I was al­ways fi­nan­cially fine to just wait. I get re­peat fees off Doc­tor Who FOR­EVER. So I just put it in a drawer and for­got about it, re­ally. Ev­ery­one thinks I spent those two and a half years se­cretly think­ing about Cu­cum­ber. Lit­er­ally just didn’t give it a sec­ond thought – just went, ‘Nope!’ In 2014, we named him one of the big­gest gay icons of the last 30 years – and right­fully so. Queer as Folk was a truly trail­blaz­ing piece of work. And now, 16 years later, his telly triad of Cu­cum­ber, Ba­nana and Tofu looks set to be just as good as – if not bet­ter than – its pre­de­ces­sor. So who bet­ter to tell us about this truly unique TV event than the man him­self... Gen­tle­men, it’s RTD.

RTD on... the hard­est thing be­ing a mid­dle aged gay man. You’re jeal­ous. You’re ab­so­lutely jeal­ous of a world in which you can be so out now. There’s nonethe­less lots of gay peo­ple still in the closet, but that was part of the mo­tive about Henry as well, which is we he’s so at­tracted to that flat, which is why he goes and lives there. It’s kind of re­liv­ing his own life again. He even says to Dean at one point in a Ba­nana episode that, when he was a stu­dent, he lived in a flat like theirs. But I bet he wasn’t out as Fred­die and Dean, strut­ting around. I think it’s the des­tiny of ev­ery older gen­er­a­tion to think that about the other gen­er­a­tion.

RTD on... each character be­ing a part of him in some way. I’m kind of in all of them. Yes, ev­ery­one. I’m in Henry in want­ing more out of life, in Lance in want­ing to set­tle down, in Dean in want­ing my fam­ily to kick off more. We also say the same about Queer as Folk. We can all be like Stu­art and we can all have nights like Fred­die Fox. Those nights when you think you’re it and you’ve got it. Ev­ery­one, even the most mod­est of us, has a night where you think you’ve got it, and you can go up and you can strut like a pea­cock. So I’m kind of all of them. I think ev­ery good writer is a psy­chol­o­gist in the end, and psy­chol­ogy hasn’t changed. That’s why I’m not wor­ried whether the char­ac­ters are young or old. one of the best pieces of writ­ing I’ve done on the whole show is episode two of Ba­nana, which I’m writ­ing as a lonely 19-year-old les­bian.

RTD on... not be­ing able to rep­re­sent ev­ery­one. Frankly, you could publish GT daily and you still won’t sat­isfy ev­ery­one. I can write ten mil­lion dra­mas and I still won’t sat­isfy ev­ery­one, be­cause there are a mil­lion dif­fer­ent gay peo­ple, a mil­lion dif­fer­ent gay sto­ries to be told. Also, the real truth of it is, you and I, GT and I, could pro­vide the most pin­sharp, laser-sharp rep­re­sen­ta­tion of a gay man, and they wouldn’t recog­nise them­selves. Be­cause who likes look­ing at a photo of them­selves? No one. We all re­act badly when we see a photo or hear our own voice. That’s why ev­ery sin­gle per­son who comes off a re­al­ity show says, ‘Oh, that was the edit­ing. That wasn’t re­ally me’.


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