Gone are the days of cheesy poofs and dull political correctness. New drama QUEER AS FOLK is here to prove that television can tackle homosexuality without being bigoted or dull.

o'us: Peter ROSS

VINCE LOVES STUART WHO IS HAVING sex with Nathan who is jealous of Vince who is the best friend of Stuart who is the father of Alfred who is the child of Romey who is having sex with Lisa. This is the first episode of Queer As Folk.

Rather misleadingly compared to This life in early publicity blurbs probably’ because it’s full of young, well-oft” people going to bed with each other Queer As Folk is a teleyision first: a drama series based entirely around homosexual characters. There’s Stuart Jones - ‘the ttltitnate shagger’ according to writer Russell 'l‘. Davies a man who likes his jeep fast and his men faster. Then there’s his best mate Vince Tyler solid. dependable, hopelessly in love with Stuart and prone to more disastrous one night stands than (‘alamity lane on the game. Finally, say hello to Nathan Maloney, a l'il'teen-year-old schoolboy who has "in S: :0

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only been out for about five minutes before he hops into bed with Stuart. Apart from a few plot twists and turns. the eight-part series revolves around the dynamic between these three guys on the scene in Manchester’s ‘gay village’.

‘I was trying to avoid the rubbish like Tony and Simon in EastEnders when all gay characters do is talk about being gay all the time.‘ says Davies. ‘There’s too much political correctness in the portrayal of gay men in drama. It’s like they feel they have to show these people in a positiye light. I’m happy not to do that. so hopefully it’s more honest.’

(‘ertainly' the timing could not be better. Last year saw gay culture dominate the mainstream and l‘)‘)‘) looks set to prove that it wasn‘t a fluke. So far there hasn’t been a Ron l)a\'ies. Peter Mandelson or George Michael. but (iay Dad, Gimme Gimme Gimme. the Kronenbourg 166—1 lipstick lesbians and that Tory Mt‘il’ who got caught coming back from Amsterdam with gay porn and dope are all helping ensure that these final few pic-millennial months have a distinctly pink tinge. Dana International was so 1998; we’ve got Babs. the League OfGemIemen‘s post—op cabbie now.

But Queer As Folk, With its self- contained. almost exclusively gay world. is something quite different. ('an a programme which portrays a world unknown to the majority of the Viewing public cross over into the mainstrcam'.’

‘I think we’re guaranteed a gay audience.‘ says Davies. ‘AS a View er. it‘ I read in the paper that tonight‘s episode of Park Practice has a gay subplot. I‘ll watch it because there might be a handsome man and be

'If I read in the paperthat tonight's episode of Peak Practice has a gay subplot, I'll watch it because there might be a handsome man and he might take his clothes off.’

Russell T. Davis

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tnight take his clothes olT. It's as simple as that. .-\s for the rest ol‘ the world'.’ Well. he spent enough of my life watching straight stuff. so it’d be nice if they started watching gay sltliT. I’ve paid my" dues. so they can as well.

‘The feedback [We had so far is that Straight women like it because they’re getting to watch sexy boys. My friend said it was loy'ely' watching

sex where there’s no competition. it

there was a woman in the scene she'd

be thinking "()oh. her tits are better

than mine" or “Look at the hips on her".‘

(‘raig Kelly. the straight actor who plays Vince. is confident that he is starring in a hit. ‘Queer xiy‘ I'D/k isn't going to be eyerybodyk cttp of tea. bill I think it will do very well. This is a groundln‘eaking drama which will stand ottt as a unique piece of work. It's fresh. it‘s sexy. it‘s witty. it's Very. Very good teley'ision. l‘ye been an actor for six years and this is the best work l’y‘e ey'er done.‘

('hanncl 4 hate certainly pttt their money where their reyolutionary instincts are and splashed the cash on Queer sis l-‘o/k. The award-winning teatn inclttde producer Nicola Shindler and director (‘harles .\lcl)ougall. who between them haye giy'en tts lli/ls/nn’oug/I. Our friends III The Nor/II. li’eln'een The Lines and (TYNTxf'r.

But eyeryonc likes a nice analogy. so what exactly is Queezuls l'ii/k'.’ The gay This life? The pink Set .-lml 'l'/1e ('ily"? Or how about the British lz'llen'.’ Not according to Rtlssell T. Day'ies.

'It.s essentially a loye stol‘y‘ between three mch he says. ‘l’utting labels on it is a bit beyond me.’

Queer As Folk begins on Channel 4, Tue 23 Feb, 10.30pm.