No sooner was the ink dry on his latest drama about gay life for Channel 4, then Russell T Davies was asked to write another one.
Upcoming Channel 4 drama Cucumber – and the E4 spin-off Banana – will be followed by The Boys, which will tell the story of a group of gay men during the 1980s Aids epidemic.
The former Doctor Who showrunner told RadioTimes.com that the drama, scheduled for 2016, will be one of his most autobiographical yet and will include a character who is a semi-fictional version of himself.
“It’s partly looking back on your life, it’s partly because of my boyfriend [who has been seriously ill] I have been staring mortality in the face,” Davies said at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch.
The drama – which has not yet been cast or even written – promises to focus on a group of gay men at the time but will also involve a character partly based on a female friend of Davies’s who was active in the campaign to raise awareness of Aids.
“I want to go into the bedsits – it’s called The Boys because it’s about the boys. And they will tell the stories of it, because there is a lot to say about it.
“I think we are reaching a bit of a generational thing where men like me in their 50s are looking back and realising how shocking it all was. We all ran away from it. I ran away from it.”
He adds that the reality of the time was that the majority of gay men were not “waving banners and placards” and that it was “only the brave few who were manning the picket lines”.
“I mean that for myself. I didn’t go on marches. We didn’t quite believe it was happening.
“I had friends who died and I didn’t go to their funerals. I didn’t even write to their mothers. I was young and stupid and I just carried on. And I am ashamed. And I wonder why. Which is why I want to write this. Things you want to write just rise up in you.”