Drama to whet your appetite
So you may have heard of Russell T Davies’ latest hit TV-series based around the hardness of an erection – Tofu, Banana and Cucumber. For want of a better opening, I shouldn’t have jumped straight into the reasoning behind the titles, but seen as the shows are doing exactly that – unashamedly presenting homosexuality with such confidence and rigour – I thought it apt to follow suit.
All three programmes are on different channels and platforms; each of them a stand-alone story but all interlink together to give the viewer more depth. Banana aired on E4, Cucumber on Channel 4 and Tofu on 4oD.
“It divided the hard-on into four categories, from soft to hard. One, tofu. Two, peeled banana. Three, banana. And four, cucumber. Right there and then, I knew I had my drama”, Davies explained the result he arrived at, after what he called “a scientific study”.
There’s no doubt that the idea is one of the most innovative on British TV and to be focusing on the LGBT community lends it more acclaim in how it ingeniously connects the shows with narratives that are very bold, funny and human.
Cucumber follows 46-year old Henry Best, played by Vincent Franklin (PR guru Stewart Pearson in The Thick of It) and his long-term boyfriend Lance (played by The Bill’s Cyril Nri) in the aftermath of “the worst date night in history”. The drama sees Henry leave the stale relationship behind to face a multitude of drama – a death, a threesome and a chaotic house-share with a group of younger men.
Set around the LGBT youth in Manchester and unlike Cucumber which follows one gay man, Banana trails eight stories including one involving 19-year old Dean (played by Refugee Boy’s Fisayo Akinade). It’s an anthology series focusing on the wider LGBT spectrum and was originally commissioned in 2013 as a sister show to Cucumber, along with the online documentary series Tofu.
Tofu is a series about sex and sexuality made by YouTube sensation Benjamin Cook. It looks at the real issues raised in the dramas and has truthful talks with members of the public as well as actors.
Gloriously explicit as they may be, these shows are about growing old, different generations and the relationship and power-shifting between them, and perhaps most crucially, how the gay scene – and just being gay – has changed.
Even though the last episode aired last week the DVD has been released today, so add it to your collection.