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You Should Know About… Queer as Folk (UK)

You Should Know About… Queer as Folk (UK)

by Scott McMullon16 May 2012
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Nowadays it is hard to imagine that there was ever a time where LGBT people were a rarity on mainstream television. Sure, there were always one or two, but they seemed to be cut from the same stereotypical cloth of effeminate men and masculine women. However, one day in 1999, a new show arrived in the form of Queer as Folk; a critically acclaimed series on Channel 4 which shone a light into the realities of a gay man’s lifestyle.

Created by Russel T Davies – of Doctor Who fame – The series was short but sweet, running for only eight episodes in its first season and a two-part second series in 2000. However, in that short time, UK audiences were given their first insight into an unseen world of gay men and women in Manchester’s gay centre, Canal Street. Following the fortunes of three men, their families and friends, we were introduced to real organic people and shown the way they lived their lives both individually and together. From Aiden Gillen’s fantastically brazen portrayal of Stuart, to a young Charlie Hunnam’s take on the naive yet equally brave Nathan, Queer as Folk was the first show to broach the subject of gay relationships and gay sex in a realistic setting. In fact, the character of Sean Tully on ITV’s flagship soap, Coronation Street, was based on Queer as Folk’s own Alexander – both played by well-known gay actor Antony Cotton.

The ripple effect from the show caused a shift in public attitudes regarding homosexuality, and helped to take the taboo away from the theme which lead to LGBT characters popping up in more mainstream programming. Indeed, this show was part of the more recent revolution in attitudes which has helped make our community what it is today. The veil was lifted on our lifestyle and helped to show the rest of the country that we are in fact normal people with many of the same interests and attitudes.

It is true that some were worried that the shows use of sexual conquest, underage relationships and drug use would demonise the gay community. There was also some concern that the same hackneyed stereotypes were still present and would subject us to the same jeers that many deal with on a daily basis. That being said, Queer as Folk helped to put our issues and our people on the small screen, and helped pave the way for a new generation of strong and capable young people to grow up in a slightly better world.

This is a series that should be required viewing, if only to remind ourselves just how far we have come, and more importantly, how much farther we can go.

Series 1 and Series 2 of Queer as Folk is available on DVD from Amazon.

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About The Author
Profile photo of Scott McMullon
Scott McMullon
Essex blogger in his mid-twenties, deeply opinionated and passionate about writing.
42 comments
Kyra
Kyra

Aidan Gillen could ACT. Stuart Jones will forever be a favorite. Best show ever.

MakeMeTonight
MakeMeTonight

@SoSoGay Haha, you don't have to be old to remember the original Queer as Folk! It's not that long ago. :D #originalandthebest

Pablo Del Rey
Pablo Del Rey

i saw every episode. i was in the school too. of course i was in love with bryan. LOL

kerryhaselup
kerryhaselup

@SoSoGay remember it??? I have it and LOVE it especially the soundtrack

marcpay
marcpay

@SoSoGay Yes, and I love it! Have the special collectors edition DVD set. #changedmylife

AlexanderLyons
AlexanderLyons

@SoSoGay *puts hand up*. Must have been about 15...

anandamide
anandamide

@SoSoGay I'm doin' it! I'm *really* doin' it!

SimonBatchelor1
SimonBatchelor1

@SoSoGay Definitely It was ground breaking stuff Best gay drama I can think of

melissa_fix
melissa_fix

@SoSoGay loved Queer as Folk! Especially the title music. Still have the CD I 'borrowed' from a mate.

AnthonyCamber
AnthonyCamber

@SoSoGay Very much so. Was very surprised when my mum said she liked it and asked if I watched it (I wasn't out then).

shaunage
shaunage

@SoSoGay I thought it was SO much better than the USA version... Just me? #queerasfolk

devandclom
devandclom

@SoSoGay I still shout "Stuart Jones!" at the telly in a parody of Nathan's accent whenever Aiden Gillen comes on.

2Ls1T
2Ls1T

@SoSoGay IT WASN'T THAT LONG AGO!!!!

jonaoxford
jonaoxford

@SoSoGay I was re-watching the last episode only the other day! Still the best thing Russell T Davis has ever done.

bazingapunks23
bazingapunks23

@SoSoGay I used to watch it when I was 15, it was on either before or after sex and the city!

Orcs
Orcs

@SoSoGay remember it well. Age of consent was 18 back then for us, even..!

DanielAWelch
DanielAWelch

@SoSoGay nope remember it and absolutely loved it.

matthewfoster
matthewfoster

@SoSoGay Was living in Manc when Q as Folk was recorded. It was fantastic. And they made Canal St look amazing! ;o)

gehrettellis
gehrettellis

@SoSoGay Yes. And as you say, it is definitely required viewing.

JoeGroves
JoeGroves

@SoSoGay I remember watching it in secret when I was 10

paulj85
paulj85

@SoSoGay Of course. Although was probably way too young to be watching some of the scenes... ;)

JeremyDonovan82
JeremyDonovan82

@SoSoGay I do! Rewatched my DVD box set last week GENIUS #gladtobegay

DannyBoyLAX
DannyBoyLAX

@SoSoGay The American vs was far better, IMO. I mean, c'mon...@GaleHarold anyone?