It doesn’t take a television analyst to see that the state of LGBT characters in the media isn’t quite where we want it to be. Often, non-heterosexual (or non-cisgendered) characters are shoehorned in with side plots and undeveloped storylines even at the best of times, which is why it’s so refreshing to see those who have broken away from heteronormativity get the spotlight.
UK television channel Channel 4 is often very good with that, previously airing iconic, queer-friendly shows like Skins across its network. Now, the channel is coming back with several gay dramas based around one another, the flagship of these being ‘Cucumber’.
Set to star Vincent Franklin as a gay male in his 40s who is attracted to a younger man, Cucumber will also feature Julie Hesmondhalgh (of Coronation Street fame) and comedian Rufus Hound. A gay drama, it will be interesting to see a gay male at the centre of attention this time round and Russell T. Davies, the creator of Queer As Folk, another iconic piece of queer media, is on board to helm the show which is incredibly hopeful indeed.
Cucumber will also have a companion show named Banana which will air on Channel 4’s sister channel E4 and will be aimed towards the younger demographic. There will also be an online portion of the project named Tofu which will explore stories of gay sex and will also feature contributions from the public.
All having potentially conservative-bothering storylines, characters and topics, Piers Wenger, Channel 4’s Head of Drama explains…
“In a drama looking at the details of people’s sex lives, whether gay or straight people, of course you are required to bust taboos or ask probing questions. There’s no doubt people will find it challenging but it’s asking intelligent questions in an original way.”
Piers Wenger, Channel 4’s Head of Drama
Meanwhile, Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s Chief Creative Officer noted that the shows are all “channel-defining” and that they likely wouldn’t broadcast on US television networks. Cucumber, Banana and Tofu will, however, air in the UK sometime in 2015.