How 'Cucumber' & 'Banana' Help Further Russell T. Davies' Goal Of Bringing More Sexually Diverse Characters To TV
Russell T. Davies has been most recently known for bringing Doctor Who back to TV, but the British writer and producer also created the U.K. version of Queer as Folk, and bringing gay stories to television is important to Davies. This is especially evident with his latest series, Cucumber and Banana, which prove that he is a champion for getting LGBT characters on screen. The two linked shows premiere on Logo TV on Monday, April 13 at 10 p.m., and there honestly couldn't be a better home for the shows in the U.S.
For those unfamiliar with Logo, the channel states it's for "gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender audiences and their families and friends." And Logo is also no stranger to importing British shows from overseas. The channel airs Absolutely Fabulous (AbFab for those in the know), so bringing over Davies' new shows (which already aired in the U.K.) made perfect sense. But what about gay characters on major networks in the U.S.? Does Davies think they are are underrepresented in mainstream TV?
"I think we're getting there, in fairness," he says. "I don't like to be a naysayer about it because you look at the work that Ryan Murphy does on Glee, which is an extraordinary network [of] trans stories, gay stories, lesbian stories," Davies says. He also had been catching up with Shonda Rhimes' How To Get Away With Murder and "loves" the gay character Connor.
"Those are mainstream, powerful representations that are right up-front in very, very successful shows," he says. "So, of course, we could always have more [gay characters]...and I am one of those people who dedicated my life to making sure that there are more of these stories, but we're getting there slowly."
And Davies considers it an "honor" to be helping bring more diverse characters to TV. So is that why he did two linked series instead of just one? Although Davies jokes about being "greedy" by doing two shows at the same time, he explains, "It was more than just an opportunity. It was a genuine urge to tell stories beyond male stories."
"Cucumber is about men," he continues. "It's about a man called Henry. It's a middle-aged, gay man and all his trials and tribulations and adventures, and that's going to be a very, very male series in order to be honest to itself. While Banana gives us a chance to look at supporting people in Henry's world. People who satellite around him — some women, some younger women, some older women, there's a trans character in there, some younger boys. All sorts of stories that fall outside that male-dominant sphere. Together, they make quite a nice, complicated, and revolving view of the world."
So not only is Davies now used to bringing groundbreaking characters to TV, he's even bringing a new format to TV series with these interconnected shows. Plus, as much as I love the American version of Queer as Folk, I'm excited that Americans will be getting the British versions of the news shows. "We're a more interconnected world than we were 16 years ago," Davies explains. (And Britain used to remake American shows as well. Davies mentions that the U.K. remade the Golden Girls with the show Brighton Belles, which he considers, "one of the worst sitcoms ever made, because nothing could ever replace the Golden Girls.")
From loving good television to creating it, Davies is one of the best showrunners around. And when it comes to bringing more sexually diverse characters to screen, he has an inspiring message: "We'll never give up. It's a constant fight, but I do think it's a fight we're kind of slowly winning."