Channel 4’s latest gay drama “Cucumber” has made its debut on UK TV at 9pm on Thursday 22 January 2015.
Pre-launch show information
This is one of two new Russell T Davies scripted dramas with Banana as well as online documentary Tofu.
Cucumber follows 46 year old Henry, played by Vincent Franklin (“The Thick of It”, “Twenty Twelve”) and his long-suffering boyfriend Lance, played by Cyril Nri (“The Bill”).
We’re told that life for Henry and Lance is comfortable and settled. But that is until what is claimed to be the most disastrous date night in history – involving a death, a threesome, two police cars and Boney M – Henry’s old life shatters, and his new life begins.
While Lance gets to know the mysterious Daniel (James Murray), Henry soon finds himself house-sharing with unexpected companions. Freddie (Freddie Fox) and 19 year old Dean (Fisayo Akinade) have only been passing strangers, until now. But they find themselves under the same roof and they need to work out; are they friends or enemies?
And then we’re told there’s Henry’s sister, Cleo (played Julie Hesmondhalgh from “Coronation Street”) – busy, professional, and a little chaotic. But coping with her three kids is apparently easy compared to helping her brother.
The cast for the eight-part series also includes Con O’Neill, Rufus Hound, Ardal O’Hanlon, Adjoa Andoh, Anjli Mohindra, Ceallach Spellman and Phaldut Sharma.
Channel 4 has also published short bios of the characters of Cucumber and Banana.
Ratings & Response
According to the Channel 4 Press Office Cucumber averaged 1.2 million viewers based on overnight figures (1.9 million after 7 day catch-up) and had a 5.5% audience share. It’s not a blockbuster number, but a very respectable audience nonetheless.
As for the viewing public, there’s no harsher judge of gays on TV than gays themselves. Comment on Twitter was also positive with most being realistic that you can’t expect a TV drama to portray the world exactly how you’d like it to be.
It also has to be said that Queer As Folk is seen quite differently today then it was 15 years ago. Even when the Internet was barely in the public consciousness, nevermind the merciless world of live tweeting, the show attracted some harsh criticism for the unpleasant nature of some of the characters and, for the time, graphic sex.
Arguably, the true test of Cucumber is whether it can spawn of a long-running gay drama series, something the US has managed to achieve with Queer As Folk USA and The L Word, but the UK has failed to do.