Comedy drama Cucumber on Channel 4 follows the glitch in a relationship between two longtime partners played by Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri.
Banana on E4 , featuring younger characters that overlap with those in Cucumber, consists of separate dramas about queer characters, including one episode written by Sue Perkins. Finally, Tofu on 4oD offers frank and often hilarious interviews about modern sex in all its variety. They are the latest in a long line of excellent LGBT series that have been produced around the world, and below we have brought together 10 of the best. The UK has been especially strong in this regard, mirroring its commendable record of excellent gay cinema.
Sadly few international series with LGBT characters make it to British shores, although a couple are included below. This list consists of series that feature an LGBT character as the protagonist. Lip Service was a disappointment, despite an excellent performance from Heather Peace. A glut of sitcoms feature LGBT characters, but so many are patchy, or dated. The New Normal started strong but lost its way, leading to a swift cancellation.
The joyous Tales of the City was narrowly edged out. Bad Girls , despite its camp reputation, had a terrific lesbian storyline in the romance between prisoner Nikki and governor Helen, but lost momentum when both characters left. Despite its tendency towards soap and one of the most loathed lesbian characters in TV history, The L Word has countless devoted admirers. One is his Mieze, the other is Reinhold. He gets involved with a criminal fraternity, and becomes infatuated with immoral pimp, Reinhold Gottfried John , even after the latter tries to kill him.
Homoeroticism throbs subtly throughout, but only in the remarkable two-hour epilogue does it come to the fore, through a fantastic and nightmarish journey through the mind of Biberkopf. He imagines Reinhold taking a lover in jail, pictures Reinhold whipping him in a torture chamber, and takes part in a boxing match that ends, not with a punch but with a passionate kiss. The whole series takes the viewer on a gripping journey, but the utterly unexpected finale makes you question all that has come before.
Despite the negative influence of the church, it is an optimistic drama that shows Jess breaking free from the constraints of her small Lancashire community and emerging to better her lot by leaving home, getting into university and learning to be at peace with her sexuality. It won BAFTAs for best drama series and best actress for Geraldine McEwan as the strict mother , and launched the adult career of Charlotte Coleman , previously known for playing the title role in Marmalade Atkins Ellen —98 Ellen — For most of its first four seasons, Ellen was a likeable sitcom, fun, silly and safe.
Degeneres, meanwhile, is now a well-known face in showbiz, a regular Oscar host who won a new generation of fans voicing Dory in Finding Nemo Rarely has someone so utterly defied their critics, while remaining true to themselves. Queer as Folk Queer as Folk This one came out of nowhere, a shameless and often outrageous series that gave a kicking to the perception of gay men as sexless best friends to female protagonists and instead put them centre stage, showing them to be as flawed, selfish and sex-hungry as everyone else — more so, in fact.
Its first episode, featuring year-old Stuart rimming a horny year old, was unapologetically provocative, and upset both the tabloids and many gay viewers, who were alarmed by its subversive characters. Davies, meanwhile, has become that rare thing — a household name TV screenwriter, largely thanks to the monster success of the revamp of Doctor Who A pretty good sequel followed in , while an underrated American-Canadian version ran for five seasons from to Tipping the Velvet Nan: May I really — touch you?
The works of Sarah Waters have been adapted several times for the small screen — Fingersmith , a meaty lesbian melodrama starring Sally Hawkins , missed this list by a whisker. Tipping the Velvet tells the tale of Nan Rachael Stirling , a Whitstable oyster girl who falls hard for cross-dressing music hall star Kitty Keeley Hawes , before ending up working as a male prostitute and being taken up by a sordid widow a wonderful Anna Chancellor who parades her around at sex parties.
But can she find true love, and will it be in the arms of Kitty? The TV series brilliantly borrows the conventions of early cinema — peep show irises, dramatic music and exaggerated reaction shots — to create a wry, knowing yet still very touching Victorian melodrama. It loses none of the sex from the source novel the title comes from lesbian slang for cunnilingus , and the performances are top notch, especially from Stirling.
And the ending is just perfect. Pacino won several awards for his fiery portrayal of the much-despised closeted lawyer Roy Cohn, as did Streep, playing the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg, for whom Cohn successfully obtained the death penalty for her part in espionage. Ultimately, though, its the heart-wrenching representation of the powers of love and forgiveness that make it a television masterpiece. Her breezy and frank Sugar Rush, a novel for teenagers, was adapted for a hugely enjoyable — and often alarming — TV series, telling the trials of a teenage lesbian, Kim Olivia Hallinan , living in Brighton with a huge crush on her straight, tearaway best friend, Sugar Lenora Crichlow , future star of Being Human and Fast Girls.
Broadcast the year before Skins made its explosive debut, it shares much in common in its outrageous depiction of teenage life. Its lack of moralising and celebration of the fun side of adolescence are pure Burchill. Sadly it was cancelled after two series. Adam Lundgren is superb as Benjamin, shunned by his religious family but determined to care for his sick partner, and the drama is excellent at showing the human cost of the disease. But while deeply moving and often harrowing, its greatest triumph is showing the love and support within the gay community in Stockholm, while a shot of the two men falling in love as snow falls gently around them is achingly beautiful.
Whereas previous riffs on the scenario led to the melodrama of Within These Walls and Prisoner Cell Block H , this one blended high drama — the main character, Piper, is sent to jail when her former girlfriend rats her out to the police, only to reunite with her behind bars — with great comedy storylines.
Piper, a flaky and often selfish individual, could have been unwatchable, but Taylor Schilling keeps her the right side of sympathetic. The lesbian relationships there are many are sensitively depicted, but the series broke new ground with the regular character of Sophia Laverne Cox , a trans woman jailed for theft played by — gasp — a trans woman.
In , Cox became the first trans person to be nominated for an acting Emmy for the role. The show, produced by Amazon Studios and available online through their site, depicts the challenges facing trans people with refreshing candour. All the characters are flawed, and occasionally obnoxious, but the excellent writing from Jill Soloway who also has a parent who is trans makes them intriguing, realistic people who you root for.