Is Cucumber and Banana the new Queer as Folk?

Our Rating

9

I’ve got a right Torchwood on for 4’s new series!

Cucumber, Banana, Queer as Folk, Doctor Who and Torchwood writer Russell T Davis.

As firm as a cucumber, like a banana or as wobbly as tofu! How many more male states of arousal could the legendary Russell T Davis call his new LGB TV drama series’? That said I’ve got a right torchwood on (see what I did there?) in anticipation of what Russell can come up with in these loosely linked new TV series shown on Channel 4, E4 and 4 on Demand respectively.

So what is it all about? Well Russell T Davis has returned to the familiar world of his previous LGB&T series ‘Queer as Folk’ yes the queer king of drama is back in Manchester’s Gay Village (briefly).

Queer as folk but not as we knew it!

Although these series’ seem to be retreading old ground, things are different. The LGB&T community has moved on, dating and sex app’s like Grindr have opened up the scene and expanded the Gay Sexual horizon or destroyed the personal experience of sex and dating (depending on how you look at it!).

What was touched upon in ‘Queer as Folk’ all those years ago was the generational interactions between the different sectors of the LGB&T community, it is now explored in greater detail in these new series’.

In fact, Russell dedicates Cucumber to the older generation of gays and explores the world of the no longer fresh-faced middle-aged friends of Dorothy. In particular a middle-aged insurance executive called Henry played by Vincent Franklin.

It looks into the insecurities and changing world of the once kings (or queens) of the Manchester gay scene. It touches on ageism from within the gay community and the companionship in which enables us to laugh, cry and dance through life.

Something old, something new and something blue!

Banana which follows the younger generation of LGB&T’s and links in with and inhabits the same world as Cucumber is much closer in my opinion to ‘Queer as Folk’ although it examines the often sweeping stereotypical life of the promiscuous late teen and twenty-something gay/bi male. Banana follows Henry’s co-worker the 19 year old Dean played by Fisayo Akinade and the contrast between lifestyles and indeed the similarities are what makes these programs gel yet work just as good alone.

There has been some criticism of both show’s as being negative about gay lifestyles and endorsing stereotypes. It also has been said that Manchester’s Gay Village get’s a downward bashing from the program in future episodes in a reference to the increase of anti-social behaviour. I can’t quite see Russell going down that route too far but it’s been subtly hinted in these opening episodes, I guess it’s just a reflection of the Pub and Club industries struggles in this modern virtual centric world where a virtual friend is just a smartphone, tablet or computer away!

Freddie Fox as Freddie Baxter getting cheeky in Cucumber and Banana.

I thoroughly enjoyed the way the two show’s work in tandem and it’s good to have some of that Russell T Davis witty dialogue back. Even the documentary factual sister program Tofu had some interesting points that just add to the overall impact of this trilogy (yes the online documentary tofu too!) of series’.

The shock factor that made Queer as Folk such a global hit 16 years ago may have resided with time but Cucumber, Banana and Tofu are LGB&T Northern drama’s from the Russell T Davis school of humorous, gritty, real yet fun drama with a real heart, arse and soul.

It’s bottom and top marks from me!

Catch:

Cucumber on Channel 4 on Thursdays at 9 pm.

Banana on E4 on Thursdays at 10 pm

and…

Tofu on 4 on Demand!