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Queer As Folk
Season 1 and 2
QAF- Definitive Collector Edition cover
Episodes 10
Aired from Channel 4
Finale 22 February 2000
Season guide
Previous Next
- Cucumber

Queer as Folk is a 1999 British television series that chronicles the lives of three gay men living in Manchester's gay village aroundCanal Street. Initially running for eight episodes, a two-part follow up called Queer As Folk 2 was shown in 2000. Both Queer as Folk and Queer as Folk 2 were written by Russell T Davies.

Queer as Folk was produced by Darama Companion Productions and Simons & Saccurs Studio for the Red Production Company in association with Channel 4 Corporation and BBC Two. The title of the programme comes from a dialect expression from some parts of Northern England, "there's nowt so queer as folk", meaning "there's nothing as strange as people"; which is a word play on the modern-day English synonym of "queer", meaning homosexual. Davies had originally titled the series this, although at the suggestion of Channel 4 executives for a period during its development and pre-production it was known as Queer as Fuck before it reverted to the former name.

Characters and plot

The main characters are Stuart Alan Jones (Aidan Gillen), who is highly sexually active, and successfully so. His long-time friend Vince Tyler (Craig Kelly), who has a crush on Stuart, has less luck regarding men. 15-year-old Nathan Maloney (Charlie Hunnam) is new to the gay scene but is not lacking in self-confidence.

The producers say that Queer as Folk, although superficially a realistic depiction of gay urban life in the 1990s, is meant as a fantasy, and that Stuart, Vince, and Nathan are not so much characters as gay male archetypes.

Stuart, an advertising executive, possesses intrinsic power, able to bend anything to his will. Stuart's principal characteristic is that he does whatever he wants, whenever he wants, however, he wants. He blows up a car belonging to his friend Alexander's antagonistic mother (in the second series). He invites Vince's female work colleague, who has a crush on closeted Vince, to Vince's birthday party and then introduces Vince's boyfriend. When offered a test drive of a Jeep by a car salesman who makes some homophobic comments, Stuart drives the car straight through the large window of the car dealership.

In the second series, the tone became somewhat more serious, with each of the main characters having to make hard choices concerning their futures.

A recurrent theme throughout the series is Vince's fandom of Doctor Who, with various scenes from the classic series being played (in one instance an awkward situation with a guy Vince brings home.) This is a small, yet significant piece to the series, as six years later Russell T Davies revived Doctor Who.

Location, production and music

The bouncy theme song for series was created by Murray Gold.

The music for the series was produced by Almighty Records. Because of the TV show, it was the Queer As Folk CD soundtrack, which went gold within four months of going on sale in March 1999 in the UK, that has become the most successful project the label has ever taken on. The release of this CD followed a request from the makers of the TV series, Red Productions after another major record company turned down the opportunity due to poor sales of previous 'music-led' television shows on Channel 4.

Given a list of tracks, Almighty had one month to compile the music. However, some tracks could not be cleared in time for the release mainly due to timescales, including one by Steps who initially said that the show would be too 'low profile' for them to be associated with. It was the success of this album that prompted Channel 4 launch their own music division when the second series of Queer As Folk was made.

Cast

Episodes

Series Episodes Originally aired
Series premiere Series finale
1 8 23 February 1999 13 April 1999
2 2 15 February 2000 22 February 2000


Spin-offs and remakes

A follow-up, spin-off series, Misfits, was initially commissioned by Channel 4. The series would have followed the characters of Hazel, Alexander, Donna (who was absent from the 2nd series due to scheduling commitments) and Bernard from the original series while introducing new characters. Although Davies developed draft scripts for four episodes and storylines for a further twenty-two, the series was cancelled before it went into pre-production.

As a result of Channel 4's decision, Davies pulled out of a deal that would have seen a series of Queer as Folk short stories published on the broadcaster's website and vowed to not work with Channel 4 again, unless he has an idea that only works on that channel. Fifteen years later, in 2015, Davies returned to Channel 4 with drama series Cucumber, drama anthology Banana (on E4) and documentary series Tofu (on 4oD). Denise Black makes a cameo appearance as Hazel Tyler's ghost in the sixth episode of Cucumber.


Driven by the success of the series, American cable channel Showtime and Canadian cable channel Showcase co-made a North American version set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, still under the title Queer as Folk, closely following the original's plot and storylines, but then moving on to new storylines since it continued for four additional seasons.

The North American version covered more social issues such as AIDS, gay parental rights, and gay marriage.

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