Cucumber creator Russell T Davies has revealed why he believes the divisive Channel 4 series failed to set the ratings alight.
Marking the screenwriter’s first LGBT television show since 1999’s iconic Queer as Folk, Cucumber arrived to a great deal of anticipation back in early 2015, but quickly plummeted in the ratings.
Following the lives of middle-aged Manchester-dweller Henry (Vincent Franklin), his partner Lance Sullivan (Cyril Nri) and troublesome young heartbreaker Freddie (Freddie Fox), the show debuted to a respectable 1.57 million viewers in January 2015.
Eight episodes later, however, and the series finale could only muster a mere 580,000 – a loss of almost a million viewers.
As he looks back on his work on Queers as Folk and Doctor Who on the Attitude Heroes podcast – available to download and to listen to now – Russell says he believes viewers were turned off from Cucumber because the show bought home some uncomfortable truths surrounding sex and relationships.
“There’s nothing more uncomfortable than watching television with your boyfriend and a couple on the screen start talking about their sex life and it’s you,” the 53-year-old says.
“You suddenly think, ‘Oh, turn over.’ And I think I did that on a massive scale with Cucumber.“
Despite the criticisms levelled at the show, Russell believes the portrayal of LGBT stories on screen remains a vital part of programming.
“Our vast back culture of literature, which is a wonderful thing to have in a society, is devoid of gay people. We don’t exist,” he says. “Our men and our women are not in there.”