Unbelievably, it's fifteen years since Russell T Davies original Channel 4 series "Queer as Folk" was aired. At the time, the program caused shock and outrage among the Mary Whitehouse Brigade, but for many it proved a defining moment in drama and also finally showed acceptance of gay culture as part of the mainstream - something that could and SHOULD be featured on prime time #Television.
The lives of Vince, Stuart and Nathan gripped many - and although there were accusations of stereotyping and archetypal characterization, it did not detract from the popularity of the show.
It seems, therefore, that there's been a long gap between the airing of this and Russell T Davies' new multi-platform venture for Channel 4 (though it's not like he's been sitting idle in the meantime, he has after all been re-imagining Dr Who to great acclaim), called "Cucumber".
The initial series airs on the channel at 9pm on Thursdays and is then followed by a series of stand alone pieces at 10pm on E4 called "Banana" and then again by an internet only feature of frank discussions on gay culture called "Tofu". (If you want to know why the series are named this way, it's basically to do with a popular discussion on the varying states of male arousal...you'll probably need to look the rest up yourself...)
"Cucumber" centers on the lives of Henry and Lance, involved in a long term relationship which has never been consummated. The former is stuck in a boring job and is generally dissatisfied with life, the latter proposes to Henry on a very disastrous date night which goes hideously wrong and ends up with the police being called out (if you haven't seen it, I'll stop there...)
Intertwined amongst all this are a pretty disparate set of gay characters who wander in and out of each others lives, musing on everything they could and should have done.
As with Queer as Folk, the drama is also set in Manchester and as you'd expect features Canal Street from time to time - and lots of shots of the city centre too.
The language is ripe, the sex explicit and the plotlines veer between touching and convoluted, but the characters are largely believable and interesting to watch. Vincent Franklin as Henry turns in a great performance - his scene describing Ryan Reynolds getting horny is incredibly funny, and almost shocking in its outrageousness.
If you need your Thursday nights spicing up, try a slice of Cucumber.