Though he now believes that cancelling Doctor Who would be “impossible”, former showrunner Russell T Davies has revealed that he once believed the sci-fi reboot (now running for nearly 10 years) wouldn’t last past Christopher Eccleston’s first series.
Speaking in the latest issue of Radio Times about new Channel 4 drama Cucumber, he says: “I thought Doctor Who would last a year and I was going to write the gay men drama after that.”
“But it just became this huge roller coaster that made me determined never to do a second series again.”
Davies recently revealed that he would not return to Doctor Who, preferring to concentrate on his own projects for the future.
“I love Doctor Who with all my heart but nothing is more important to me than my own stuff.”
In the magazine interview, Davies also discusses upcoming Channel 4/e4/4OD programmes Cucumber, Banana and Tofu, which examine gay life in modern Britain in a similar way to his seminal 1999 series Queer as Folk (also broadcast on Channel 4).
Cucumber is a serialised drama following the life of Henry (Vincent Franklin) and his long-term boyfriend Lance (Cyril Nri) after their breakup, and the people Henry meets after striking out for pastures new.
E4 series Banana tells standalone stories involving characters largely drawn from the younger end of the Manchester gay scene, with online factual strand Tofu focusing on modern gay life according to young people (and some of the cast).
“The seismic difference is when I wrote Queer as Folk, [series character] Nathan Maloney was an extraordinary figure in being 15 and out,” Davies tells the Radio Times. “Now, 16 years later, the gay schoolboy is not an impossible thing.”
He adds: “If you’re 19 and gay [these days], you’ve got the law on your side, you can be visible, you’ve got apps, you can be out and proud, but that doesn’t make you happy….you’re never happy in your teens.”