'Queer as Folk' Writer to Create Two Shows for U.K.'s Channel 4

2:35 AM PST 11/19/2013 by Stuart Kemp
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Russell T. Davies

Russell T. Davies, credited with reinvigorating "Doctor Who" for the BBC, will explore contemporary gay life in "Banana" and "Cucumber," for which he will also create a factual companion series online.

LONDON -- Russell T. Davies, the writer credited with reinvigorating Doctor Who for a fresh generation and the creator of seminal Channel 4 show Queer as Folk, has inked a deal for two new original dramas and an online series for 2014.

The writer will explore gay life 15 years after his drama Queer as Folk exploded onto the screen. The two series are titled Cucumber and Banana.

The two new drama series have been commissioned for Channel 4 and its digital youth-orientated channel E4. They explore the passions and pitfalls of 21st-century gay life.

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Tofu, a factual Web series, is billed as an anarchic online guide to sex and will be inspired by the dramas each week.

Cucumber is eight hourlong episodes for Channel 4 and follows 46-year-old Henry and his long-suffering boyfriend Lance.

Life for Henry and Lance is comfortable and settled. But after the most disastrous date night in history -- involving a death, a threesome, two police cars and the Glee Christmas Album -- Henry's old life shatters, and his new one begins.

On E4, Banana will follow the lives of characters orbiting around Henry in Cucumber, in eight 30-minute episodes.

From young lesbian Scotty's first love to 19-year-old Dean's mysterious family secrets, Banana covers "50 shades of gay, and beyond," Channel 4 said.

Tofu aims to take the experience online with eight factual episodes navigating the landscape of 21st-century sex in its own inimitable way.

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Davies said: "I once read about a scientific institute which had studied the male erection. It divided the hard-on into four categories, from soft to hard. One, tofu. Two, peeled banana. Three, banana. And four, cucumber. Right there and then, I knew I had my drama. And it's a joy to be back with Channel 4 and [U.K. production banner] RED to tell these stories."

Channel 4 head of drama Piers Wenger said: "No one can look into the heart and soul of modern relationships quite like Russell, and across Channel 4, E4 and online, he paints an unflinching and forensic portrait of how our sex lives affect us all. It might be 15 years since Queer as Folk, but he has made it more than worth the wait."

Nicola Shindler, founder and executive producer of RED Production, described the opportunity to work with Davies again as "completely thrilling."

She added: "We want to make this a huge, impactful production and are looking forward to starting."

Cucumber, Banana and Tofu were commissioned by Wenger and will be made by RED with Shindler and Davies executive producing.

The series will begin filming in spring 2014 in Manchester for broadcast later in the year.

Cucumber was originally developed with BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, for the U.S. cable channel Showtime -- which had broadcast a U.S. remake of Queer as Folk -- when Davies was working in Los Angeles two years ago. BBC Worldwide will distribute the drama internationally.

Casting is being finalized.

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