To Top

You Should Know About… Queer as Folk (UK)

As part of our You Should Know About… series, Scott McMullon reminds us about the acclaimed UK TV series, Queer as Folk.

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.




  1. DannyBoyLAX

    16 May 2012 at 15:28

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

  2. alanlaw

    16 May 2012 at 17:44

    @SoSoGay yes

  3. MagicMichaelXXX

    16 May 2012 at 17:44

    @SoSoGay I remember watching it in secret lol

  4. JeremyDonovan82

    16 May 2012 at 17:44

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

  5. paulj85

    16 May 2012 at 17:44

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

  6. JoeGroves

    16 May 2012 at 17:45

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

  7. gehrettellis

    16 May 2012 at 17:46

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

  8. matthewfoster

    16 May 2012 at 17:46

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

  9. DanielAWelch

    16 May 2012 at 17:47

    @SoSoGay nope remember it and absolutely loved it.

  10. Orcs

    16 May 2012 at 17:49

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

  11. bazingapunks23

    16 May 2012 at 17:49

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

  12. jonaoxford

    16 May 2012 at 17:51

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

  13. elliot_jr

    16 May 2012 at 17:53


    • SoSoGay

      16 May 2012 at 17:54

      @elliot_jr 12 years! :(

      • elliot_jr

        16 May 2012 at 17:55

        @SoSoGay that isn’t THAT long ago though! *phones Dignitas*

  14. devandclom

    16 May 2012 at 17:54

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

    • SoSoGay

      16 May 2012 at 17:57

      @devandclom you’re going to get a very sore throat if you start watching The Wire & Game of Thrones box-sets!

      • devandclom

        16 May 2012 at 18:04

        @SoSoGay Also, I can never hear Suede without the mental image of StuartJ driving his beautiful, impractical jeep through Manchester.

  15. shaunage

    16 May 2012 at 17:55

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

    • SoSoGay

      16 May 2012 at 17:59

      @shaunage You should take this up with @DannyBoyLAX @DarceyButtell who preferred the US version! ;-o

      • DarceyButtell

        16 May 2012 at 18:00

        @SoSoGay @shaunage @DannyBoyLAX In MY defence, I said that the US version would’ve been nothing without the original.

        • boysies

          16 May 2012 at 18:02

          @DarceyButtell @sosogay @shaunage @dannyboylax I prefer the American version, but it was longer and could expand on some points

        • DarceyButtell

          16 May 2012 at 18:03

          @boysies @sosogay @shaunage @dannyboylax Seconded.

        • shaunage

          16 May 2012 at 18:23

          @DarceyButtell @boysies @sosogay @dannyboylax I dunno, I just preferred the slightly more down to earth, grimy backdrop of Canal Street…

        • boysies

          16 May 2012 at 18:42

          @shaunage @darceybuttell @sosogay @dannyboylax down to earth? The car flew away at the end

        • DannyBoyLAX

          17 May 2012 at 12:12

          @boysies @shaunage @darceybuttell @sosogay LMAO!

        • DannyBoyLAX

          17 May 2012 at 12:14

          @boysies @shaunage @darceybuttell @sosogay Anyway, there was something I didn’t like in the US version. Justin. Not even a minor thing eh

        • shaunage

          18 May 2012 at 11:52

          @DannyBoyLAX @boysies @darceybuttell @sosogay I think for me it was the lack of Stuart and his Irish accent…

  16. AnthonyCamber

    16 May 2012 at 17:56

    @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).

  17. LectroLips

    16 May 2012 at 17:57

    @SoSoGay We remember! :-/

  18. DanaelHornby

    16 May 2012 at 17:58

    @SoSoGay I do. It was amazing!!!

  19. melissa_fix

    16 May 2012 at 18:00

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

  20. SimonBatchelor1

    16 May 2012 at 18:03

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

  21. anandamide

    16 May 2012 at 18:05

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

  22. AlexanderLyons

    16 May 2012 at 18:37

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

  23. marcpay

    16 May 2012 at 19:07

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

  24. kerryhaselup

    16 May 2012 at 19:47

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

  25. Pablo Del Rey

    16 May 2012 at 22:53

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

  26. MakeMeTonight

    17 May 2012 at 17:16

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

    • SoSoGay

      17 May 2012 at 17:21

      @MakeMeTonight 12 years!!

      • MakeMeTonight

        17 May 2012 at 17:38

        @SoSoGay And? You trying to make me feel old?? I think what it’s crying out for is … a new series! 😀

  27. Kyra

    17 May 2012 at 21:08

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

More in You Should Know About...