Vincent Franklin (The Thick of It), Julie Hesmondhalgh (Coronation Street) and Freddie Fox (Parade’s End) will lead the cast of Cucumber and Banana on Channel 4 and E4.
The two new eight-part drama series are written and created by Russell T Davies (Doctor Who, Queer as Folk).
Channel 4’s Cucumber has already begun filming in Manchester, while E4 series Banana will begin filming soon.
Other cast members include Cyril Nri (The Bill), Fisayo Akinade (Fresh Meat), Con O’Neill (Uncle), James Murray (Primeval) and Ceallach Spellman (Waterloo Road).
Exploring “the passions and pitfalls of 21st century gay life”, Channel 4 says that Cucumber will feature “the same ferocious wit, startling honesty and heartfelt warmth” as Queer As Folk.
An online spin-off, Tofu, will also air on 4OD and will be “an anarchic and entertaining factual series about sex – from gay to straight, and anything in between – inspired by the dramas each week”.
In Cucumber, life for 46-year-old Henry (Vincent Franklin) and his boyfriend Lance (Cyril Nri) is comfortable and settled. But after the most disastrous date night in history – involving a threesome, two police cars, and Boney M – Henry’s old life shatters, and his new life begins.
While Lance gets to know the mysterious Daniel (James Murray), Henry soon finds himself with unexpected companions. 24-year-old Freddie (Freddie Fox) and 19-year-old Dean (Fisayo Akinade) have only been passing strangers, until now. But when they all find themselves under the same roof, they need to work out; are they friends or enemies? Can men from such different generations ever get on?
Henry’s sister Cleo (Julie Hesmondhalgh) is busy, professional, and a little chaotic. But coping with her three kids is easy compared to helping her brother. And as Henry’s life heads in extraordinary new directions, helped by his nephew Adam (Ceallach Spellman), it becomes clear that Cleo’s hiding one or two secrets of her own…
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