Red Production Company is to reunite with legendary writer Russell T Davies for three new series for Channel 4.
Fifteen years after the landmark series Queer of Folk, Davies and Red’s Nicola Shindler will return to Manchester for Cucumber and Banana, which will explore 21st-century gay life. They’ll be broadcast alongside online series Tofu.
Cucumber, an 8x60min series for Channel 4, follows 46-year-old Henry and his long-suffering boyfriend Lance, particularly after “the most disastrous date night in history”, involving a death, a threesome, two police cars and the Glee Christmas album.
On E4, Banana (8x30min) follows the lives of characters orbiting around Henry in Cucumber, including young lesbian Scotty.
Tofu, meanwhile, extends the experience online with eight factual episodes that will offer real people the chance to share their sexual experiences.
Davies said: “I once read about a scientific institute which had studied the male erection. It divided the hard-on into four categories, from soft to hard. One, tofu. Two, peeled banana. Three, banana. And four, cucumber. Right there and then, I knew I had my drama. And it’s a joy to be back with Channel 4 and Red, to tell these stories.”
The new series will be Davies’ first work for the channel since Queer as Folk, which portrayed late 1990s gay culture in Canal Street in Manchester. Davies has subsequently gone on to establish a reputation as one of the foremost screenwriters of his generation, behind the likes of Doctor Who and Torchwood.
Head of drama Piers Wenger said: “No one can look into the heart and soul of modern relationships quite like Russell and across Channel 4, E4 and online, he paints an unflinching and forensic portrait of how our sex lives affect us all. It might be fifteen years since Queer As Folk, but he has made it more than worth the wait.”
Red Production Company had produced Queer as Folk as well as ITV’s The Second Coming, which starred Christopher Eccleston.
Founder Shindler added: “The opportunity to work with Russell again is completely thrilling and the chance to make a drama for Channel 4 that once again takes such a glorious, funny and perceptive look at this word is incredibly exciting. We want to make this a huge, impactful production and are looking forward to starting.”
Cucumber, Banana and Tofu were commissioned by Wenger and will be made by Red with executive producers Nicola Shindler and Russell T Davies. Tofu will be made by Benjamin Cook.
The series will begin filming in spring 2014 in Manchester for broadcast later in the year.