Ellen Degeneres Russell T.Davies Britain Usa city Manchester tv Entertainment censorship Queer as Folk U.k. Ellen Degeneres Russell T.Davies Britain Usa city Manchester

25 years ago, ‘Queer As Folk’ debuted with a provocative (& problematic) premiere

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Queer As Folk premiered on the British network Channel 4, fearlessly breaking down barriers for LGBTQ+ representation on television.Created by prolific TV producer Russell T Davies (It’s A Sin, Doctor Who), Queer As Folk—which inspired an equally influential American version the following year—dared to depict modern gay life in all its messy glory, specifically following the interconnected lives of three men living in and around Manchester’s historic gay village.Sure, Ellen Degeneres had already come out via her eponymous sitcom, and Will & Grace was in the middle of its groundbreaking first season, but Davies’ series was something else entirely.

Up until that point, LGBTQ+ characters were often kept on the sidelines, or introduced for a “very special episode” to teach a lesson or bring about some shocking twist in a gambit to spike viewership.Subscribe to our daily newsletter for your front-row seat to all things entertainment with a sprinkle of everything else queer.But Queer As Folk was a show for us, by us, unafraid of what “mainstream” audiences might think.

It was bold, sexually explicit, and unapologetically queer. When the series premiered on February 23, 1999, there was nothing quite like it, and all these years later, it still feels fresh, daring, and provocative—for better and for worse.The pilot episode, titled “Thursday,” welcomes viewers to the Canal Street gay bar Babylon, full of life on a Thursday night.

We meet longtime friends Stuart (Game Of Thrones‘ Aidan Gillen), a successful ad exec alpha gay, and Vince (Coronation Street‘s Craig Kelly), a supermarket manager who’s still closeted at work, both out on the prowl and looking for someone to take home.Before long, Stuart encounters the twinky Nathan (a young Charlie Hunnam, well before his Sons Of Anarchy days)—and this is where the show’s problems begins.

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