Queer as Folk (UK)Queer as Folk is a 1999 British television series that chronicles the lives of three gay men let loose in Manchester's gay village around Canal Street. Both Queer as Folk and Queer as Folk: Same Men. New Tricks. have been written by Russell T. Davies, who was also responsible for the hit show, Bob & Rose.
Queer as Folk was produced by Channel Four, which had previously shown its openness for gay-themed material with made-for-TV movies like Beautiful Thing, which was later also given a theatrical release.
The main characters are Stuart Alan Jones (Aidan Gillen), who is apparently trying to have sex with every male in greater Manchester (and appears to be succeeding!), Vince Tyler (Craig Kelly), his longtime friend, who has a little bit of a crush on Stuart and doesn't have quite as much luck regarding men, and finally 15-year-old Nathan Maloney (Charlie Hunnam, of Young Americans and Nicholas Nickleby), who is new to the gay scene, but is not exactly lacking in self-(over-)confidence.
The first series caused quite a stir in the UK, because many conservatives were shocked at the depiction of a 15-year-old as being aware of his homosexuality and wanting to exercise it. Furthermore, a number of the show's explicit sex scenes caused controversy, not least because they involved gay sex. However, with the general viewership the first series became a triumphant success, despite its late-night timeslot.
Queer as Folk, in spite of superficially being a realistic depiction of gay urban life in the 1990s, is meant as a fantasy tale, and Stuart, Vince, and Nathan are not so much characters as gay male archetypes.
The huge success of the first series made Russell T. Davies go back to his characters a year later in 2000, for the two-hour TV movie, Queer as Folk: Same Men. New Tricks.
This time, the gratuitous sex scenes were mostly absent, which was applauded by the people who had formerly harshly criticized the series. Also, the tone became somewhat more serious, with each of the main characters having to make hard choices concerning their future.
But in the end, things turn out fine for everyone: Nathan is left behind as the future "king" of Canal Street, while Vince gets to ride off with his beloved Stuart into the sunset -- with a flying car, no less, again stressing the fantasy aspect of Queer as Folk.
Driven by the enormous success of the British version, American cable channel Showtime decided to remake it, still under the title Queer as Folk. The American version is set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, albeit with a large amount of creative license. This version is filmed in Toronto, and implies that a significant gay village exists on Pittsburgh's Liberty Avenue. While there actually is a major downtown thoroughfare in Pittsburgh called Liberty Avenue, it has no special significance to the gay community.