Former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies says that there needs to be more representation of gay people in TV and film.
The writer who masterminded the resurrection of Doctor Who in 2005 and was its lead writer and showrunner until 2010, insists that “there is still a long way to go” before gay people are represented properly on TV outside soap operas.
“We’re gay, so we tend to notice the gay stuff, which means that we can miss the fact that whole nights of TV can sail past without a single gay person in sight,” Davies says in an interview in the latest issue of Attitude magazine. “If you took away the soaps, then the schedules would be even more empty.”
Davies, who created Channel 4’s landmark gay series Queer as Folk 15 years ago and has written two upcoming gay-themed dramas called Cucumber and Banana for E4 and Channel 4, says that iconic films also don’t adequately represent gay people either.
“Don’t just look at where we are, look at where we’re not,” he adds. “There are whole vast empires where we don’t exist – there’s not a single gay person in Star Wars, in Star Trek, in Disney, in Pixar, and this stuff isn’t old, it remains current. There’s still a long way to go.”
He adds that TV soap operas lead the way in terms of gay representation but that they are losing viewers to such an extent that in his view many could disappear completely one day.
“I actually think soaps are in trouble, and we need to be careful – as ratings slide slowly downwards, you can now see a landscape in ten years’ time where they won’t exist any more, or they will be substantially reduced,” he says.
“And they contain a vast amount of our gay characters. Without the soaps, you’ll find those stats that count gay visibility on screen will plummet. So I wouldn’t take them for granted.”
During his tenure in charge of Doctor Who, Davies created the character Captain Jack Harkness played by John Barrowman who emerged as a character sexually attracted to both men and women in Doctor Who and its spin-off Torchwood.
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