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5 Russell T. Davies’ TV shows and films you need to watch as he turns 60

Happy birthday to the man and the legend!

By Charlotte Manning

Russell T Davies
Happy birthday, Russell! (Image: BBC)

Russell T. Davies is one of the UK’s best screenwriters of all time, having been the mastermind behind the likes of It’s A Sin, Years and Years, and Queer As Folk.

Of course, he’s probably best known for his stint as showrunner on Doctor Who, which he has recently returned to for a second time.

But away from the land of time travelling, he’s also been at the helm of many other successful series’ in recent years. 

So we’ve put together a few you might not have got around to watching yet in honour of the man himself. 

Here are our top five picks from his slightly lesser-known titles. 

Helena Bonham Carter in Nolly
Helena Bonham Carter as Noele Gordon in Nolly (Image: ITV)


Put together Academy Award-nominated and BAFTA-winning actor Helena Bonham Carter and RTD and what do you get? An exceptional drama. 

Nolly tells the story of Noele Gordon (or Nolly to her friends) who was a legend in her own lifetime. 

As flame-haired widow Meg Richardson in the long-running soap opera Crossroads, she was one of the most well-known people in Britain in the 70s and 80s as well as quite the gay icon. 

However, at the height of her own show’s success and the peak of Nolly’s fame, she was axed with no warning or explanation, simply told “all good things must comer to an end” after 18 years…

Watch Nolly on ITVX

Cucumber on Channel 4
Cucumber was one of three series made by RTD which aired back in 2013 (Image: Channel 4)


You may remember Cucumber as part of a trio of RTD series back in 2013. It was commissioned along with E4’s companion series Banana, and 4oD’s web series Tofu.

After being in development in 2006, it soon became a fan-favourite, even as just a one-off. 

The series focuses on middle-aged Henry Best (Vincent Franklin). Following a disastrous date night with his boyfriend of nine years, Lance Sullivan (Cyril Nri), Henry’s old life shatters. 

Instead of wallowing, he embarks on a new life with unfamiliar rules – we think it’s well worth the watch. 

Watch Cucumber on All 4

A Very English Scanda

Ben Whishaw and Hugh Grant made up the all-star leading men of this comedy-drama. It’s set at a time when homosexuality had just been decriminalised in the UK. 

Viewers get a dramatisation of the 1976–1979 Jeremy Thorpe (Hugh Grant) scandal and more than 15 years of events leading up to it. 

British Liberal Party leader Thorpe is accused of conspiracy to murder his gay ex-lover Norman Josiffe (Ben Whishaw) and forced to stand trial in 1979.

The three-parter was met with rave reviews at the time, due to being brutally funny, endlessly clever, justifiably confident.”

Watch A Very English Scandal on BBC iPlayer

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

We all love a Shakespeare adaptation. It’s no surprise that RTD managed to create a really brilliant one when taking on A Midsummer Night’s Dream back in 2016. 

The film gained attention for its gay additions to the story, including a kiss between Hippolyta and Titania.

Russell said: “I wanted to have a man with a man, a man who was dressed as a woman with a man, and a woman with a woman because it’s 2016, so that’s the world now.”

It stars Maxine Peake as Titania, Matt Lucas as Bottom, John Hannah as Theseus, and Nonso Anozie as Oberon, among other recognisable faces. 

To top it all off, Murray Gold, who has just returned to compose Doctor Who for a second time, also composed the music for this film. 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video

bob and rose on ITV
Bob & Rose starred Alan Davies and Lesley Sharp (Image: ITV)

Bob & Rose

The ITV series was one of RTD’s earlier works, broadcast back in 2001 for just one series. It came just a matter of months after Queer As Folk

It follows the life of gay schoolteacher Bob (Alan Davies). He is fed up with the shallowness of the gay club scene in Manchester back in the early 2000s. 

He ends up meeting Rose (Lesley Sharp) after going on yet another unsuccessful date. The pair soon begin an on-off love affair.

However, she does not initially realise Bob is gay.

The six-parter shows both the main characters on a mission to find love. 

Bob & Rose was actually the inspiration for Jules & Mimi, the fictional British television show featured in Sex and the City.

Bob & Rose can be streamed on ITVX