At the turn of the millennium, Queer as Folk finally allowed LGBT+ people on both sides of the pond to see their lives depicted on the small screen, and 13 years after the US edition of the series came to a close, the cast have reunited to reflect on the iconic show's legacy.
Adapted from Russell T Davies' groundbreaking Channel 4 series, which ran for two seasons in the UK between 1999-2000, Queer as Folk found a life of its own in the States, running for a full five years from 2000-05 on Showtime.
The good people at Entertainment Weekly got the entire main cast back in the same room for the first time since the show's emotional finale for the magazine's new special LGBT issue, and in all honesty it's like the gang never left us (not to mention the fact they haven't aged a day).
Reflecting on Queer as Folk's cultural legacy, executive producer Ron Cowen said: "We saw it as an opportunity to address a lot of issues that had never been shown on American TV before.
From left: Actors Peter Paige, Scott Lowell, Hal Sparks and Gale Harrison (Image: Sami Drasin for Entertainment Weekly)
"That was very important to us because we, gay people, didn’t really see a true reflection of ourselves on TV very often."
He continued: "Back then, you couldn’t get married. There was Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the Army. In 14 states, there were still sodomy laws on the books. It was a very hostile atmosphere."
Gale Harold, who played Brian Kinney (the US equivalent of Aidan Gillen's Stuart Alan Jones), said that filming his character's now-iconic sex scene with Randy Harrison (who played Justin, the equivalent of Charlie Hunnan's Nathan Maloney), on the first day of filming blew away any of his inihibitions.
"I had a lot of self-doubts about being able to execute the role of Brian, but diving in like that, it was kind of like the bells ringing", Harold, 48, recalled. "The next day was much easier in every way."
Harrison, 40, joked: "I can tell you what everyone here’s genitals look like. I won’t, but I could."
The actor, who is openly gay, added: "I’d actually seen a good bit of the original on VHS, and I thought it was great. But my first reaction was ‘There’s no way they’re going to do this in the United States'."
Scott Lowell, who played the insecurity-ridden Ted Schmidt, paid tribute to the legions of fans who continue to give the show life over a decade after its emotional conclusion in August 2005.
“We do fan conventions and things like that all over the world, and that’s a pretty unique thing for a relationship-based drama,” he explains. "There’s no lasers, and there’s no guys with capes flying…well, there were some guys with capes.”