LONDON — Russell T. Davies, who is best known for penning ground-breaking gay drama “Queer as Folk” and regenerating the “Doctor Who” franchise, is writing two interlinking dramas exploring gay life today. The commissioning network, the U.K.’s Channel 4, has promised to deliver “50 shades of gay.”
The projects, “Cucumber” and “Banana,” are set in the British city of Manchester, where the original version of “Queer as Folk” also took place, and will “explore the heartbreak and the joy of modern sex lives,” according to Channel 4.
The eight-part miniseries “Cucumber” focuses on fortysomething Henry and his boyfriend Lance, whose comfortable life is wrecked by “a disastrous date night involving a death, a threesome, two police cars and the ‘Glee’ Christmas album.” Each episode is an hour long.
“Banana,” which is another eight-parter but with a running time of 30 minutes per episode, follows the lives of some of the younger characters who appear in “Cucumber.” It will be broadcast on the youth channel E4.
An online spin-off, “Tofu,” will relate to a theme or incident in the dramas. It will be a factual series that aims to “create a gay sex guide.”
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.”
The three series, which will begin filming in spring 2014 for broadcast later in the year, were commissioned by Channel 4 head of drama Piers Wenger, and will be made by RED Production Company. Executive producers are Nicola Shindler and Davies.
“Cucumber,” which was originally developed by BBC Worldwide Productions, will be distributed internationally by BBC Worldwide.
Originally broadcast on Channel 4, Davies’ “Queer as Folk” was remade in the U.S. by Showtime. As well as serving as the showrunner on the revived “Doctor Who” for the BBC, Davies also created the pubcaster’s “Torchwood,” which aired on Starz in the U.S.