Attitude Culture Award: Russell T Davies

The 'Queer as Folk' creator has been breaking new ground for LGBTQ representation for almost 30 years.


Russell T Davies has been honoured with the Culture Award at the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards 2019, powered by Jaguar.

The Queer as Folk creator may be best-known for for his groundbreaking Channel 4 drama about the lives of gay men in Manchester, which burst onto screen in a rainbow-coloured blaze of glory in 1998, but Davies has continued to make strides for LGBTQ represenation on screen through shows like Cucumber, A Very English Scandal or his most recent series, Years and Years.

But even before QAF made him one of TV's hottest properties, Davies was injecting much-needed queerness into British tele. Indeed, it’s already 30 years since Russell first brought a reference to The Gays to our screens, in Children’s Ward.

“It goes way back,” he says in the Attitude Awards issue - available to download and to order globally now. "It was an HIV character, which isn’t gay but it allowed the door [to] open for people to call that kid gay.

"So I was always putting it in, into the scripts,” he laughs. "It was always there. There’s a great uncatalogued roster of gay characters that I was very proud of before Queer as Folk came along.

"So, it was the gayness that got my career to where it is. It’s not just a little incidental thing. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for those gay stories."

There's no denying the cultural clout Queer as Folk still has 20 years later, however, and as he prepares to return to Channel 4 for new 1980s-set Aids drama Boys - starring the likes of Olly Alexander, Neil Patrick Harris, and Stephen Fry - Davies admits the success of the series series has shaped all that's poured from his pen since.

"I think that show stands up to this day," he explains. "Queer as Folk works because it's true. I absolutely believe every word each one of those boys says.

"It has a real integrity to it. It was good for me, I didn't realise I could write like that.

"It opened a lot of doors for me in terms of its truth and insight."

Read the full interview with Russell and all the winners from the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards 2019, powered by Jaguar in the Attitude Awards issue, out now.

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