– Lovely, lovely to meet you all. Russell, how on earth
did you get away with it? – Wasn’t that filthy?
(audience laughs) It’s filthy, isn’t it? It’s like, um. I’m quite shocked by some of that really. It’s marvellous.
(audience laughs) You know what I love? I wish there were more
drama set at like 2:00 a.m. You know, when it’s all the black cabs, and I love that bit where he gets cross at a black cab, ’cause
it’s got a light on, but it doesn’t stop, that drives me mad. (audience laughs)
Still, now that, you know, 2:00
a.m. in the morning, where everything’s raw and coarse. I’d watch endless amounts
of television like that. More television like that please! Thank you. – But at the time. Mary Whitehouse was still alive. – Yes.
(audience laughs) – And the climate, it was only
10 years since Section 28. – That’s true, yes. – You only had like a year and a half into the Blair government. How did you get to make that, in that climate?
– I suppose, I mean, I wish that I could, you
know, tell marvellous, martyrdom stories of all my great fights, but that’s what, that’s
exactly what Channel 4 wanted, that’s what Channel 4 is meant for, and that’s what it’s meant to be doing, and that’s what, and they’d
spent a couple of years kind of going a bit off message by making period dramas,
and things like that, and they wanted to come
back to their core message, and so that’s what we did. Ah, by far the worst
thing, let me tell you, I had to play that to my own mother. That was like.
(audience laughs) That was like, she
literally, and I thought, you know, I took a little
VHS over Christmas, and not Christmas Day obviously. (audience laughs) You know, I thought it
was Christmas night, now I think of it, it was
like, don’t put it in. And like, played that with my own mother, and she said, “That’s soft porn,” she said, “That’s soft porn.” Soft, cheek. (audience laughs) By far the best bit about it was that I, to this day, this
still makes me laugh, is that my father was
blind, and so she used to sit and describe what was happening. (audience laughs) On the television, literally,
sit, watch, and she’d, even when he wasn’t there,
she’d forget he wasn’t there, she’d sit watching telly going, “He walked into the kitchen,
he puts the kettle on.” And you go, “All right,
he’s not here now, Mom” I can see, and that’s so, but I’d say, they went to the grave
with me never knowing what was said that night. Imagine, she’s wanking him off. (audience laughs) He comes too soon, flicks the, imagine. (audience laughs) So, Tony Blair, Tony Shmair, this compared to sitting in your own
house watching that, and you know, seriously,
about two months after that my mother was 70, and they
had a party in Swansea, rented a big club, and
some friends of hers didn’t turn up because of that. Not, I’m not saying they were, you know, there are levels of homophobia, I think they were more embarrassed, and mortified than angry, or militant, but you know, if you’re gonna sit through her own 70th with, I won’t name them, because I know this is being filmed, but without those people,
and she never told me that, it was my sister told me that, she never made it a problem at all, so strange days, though, strange days. – So Denise, we only just got to see you in episode two properly, you know, and the character of Hazel sort of grows as the series develops,
so we’re just seeing the kind of the tip of you kind of there. But when you saw the
script, when it was first, when you were first
approached, what did you think? – I only saw the script
for those two episodes, so what you’ve seen of
Hazel is all I knew, and I rang my agent, and
I asked what rimming was. (audience laughs) (audience applauding) And he said that, “Very hot
writer, Russell T. Davies, “I really think you should go.” So armed with my new information, I went. I went to Manchester, I had
a purple bob at the time, for I’d been suffering a
period of unemployment, and got bored, and I did
the interview, and I read. Russell was there, and we
knew each other from Corrie; and I didn’t think I’d got it, I really didn’t think I’d got it. What did I think of it? I read everything that I could, it’s the only series
that I’ve ever watched live as it goes out. Just like wanting to know what
happens next in the story, and I’ve done some really nice work, but I kinda knew that
this was groundbreaking. I didn’t exactly know
whether it would be seen, I thought maybe they’d think
it was too pornographic, and not show it, and I
felt that what we learnt was the public was over
ripe and ready for it, and it’s just all the middle people and the money people who were scared, so, thanks to–
– And actually, it’s actually once you cast it, once you cast someone like Denise, that’s when you start
writing more for Hazel, it kind of happens that way round as well. – So Craig, oh my God. (audience laughs) (Russell clapping) What’s your secret? – [Craig] Uh, well. (audience applauds and laughs) – Yeah!
– You should see the portrait in my attic. (audience laughs)
No, it’s Boots’ Number Seven, the serum. And what was the other stuff I put on? It’s oh my God. (audience laughs)
Oh, it’s like, oh God, it’ll, babe what’s
that stuff I put on? – Oh he means it. – She doesn’t–
– Oh my God, it’s, it’s the stuff, it’s like
vitamin E oil, basically. – It does help, does it? – Yeah, it’s, it’ll come back to me. Jesus, what am I on about? – But how old were, how old were you when you were playing that part. – I was, well at the time I thought I was getting on a bit, I was 28. I thought it was over
for me, I was 28, yeah. – And you’re still going strong? – Thank you, yeah, I’m all right, I’m doing all right. – But classically, a lot of actors were terrified of playing
overt gay characters, – Yeah. – Up to that point.
– Yeah. – Because they thought that
was gonna go typecast them, they’d never get any other parts, did you have any qualms like that, before taking on the part? – No, I mean I went to drama centre, which is basically about
acting and the craft of it, and basically I thought,
well if Daniel Day Lewis can do it, and Oldman,
then it’s me next please. Unfortunately I’m not
quite as good as them, but, but–
– We’ll be the judge of that. – Thank you. They inspired me, completely, but also there’s a good story
here, I was offered it, and at first it was, the
script that I was sent was Queer as F, asterisk,
asterisk, asterisk. Right? So I was thinking, okay this is, this is interesting, and I
was a little bit nervous, but I wanted to do it,
and I called up my dad, who’s, you know, I’ve
never had a conversation about like gays or being
gay, or anything like that, and I said, “Oh dad, you
know, this scripts come along, “and it’s, you know, it’s
called “Queer as Folk”.” And he went, “Yeah?” And I went, “And it’s a gay character,” and he went, “Yeah.” And I went, “It’s gonna be on Channel 4, “and I think it’s gonna
be quite hard-hitting,” and he went, “what’s the script like?” I said, “It’s brilliant,” he went, “Well do it.” I went, “All right, brilliant.” Agent, I’ll do it. But it was, yeah I mean it was the script, and the character, and
it was just something that was magic really, and I’ve said this, but there was magic in that script, and there was magic on the set. When we were filming it, it
was such a joy wasn’t it, and such fun, and we all
knew that we had something, and I knew that it would
find it’s audience, but I didn’t know it would find that audience, which was huge. – But then you have Vince,
actually when you come to think about it, is kind
of the central character, through who we then
experience everything else, it’s the nearest thing to
a kind of normal character in the middle of that–
– It’s the heart of the piece I think, isn’t it?
– Totally, yeah! So it’s, he’s gotta, he’s
got a moral compass– – Yeah.
– To him, which is palpably lacking in Stuart. – Yes, they are quite opposite. – But did you find
yourself becoming Vince, as the shooting progressed, you know? – Well I suppose–
– Thinking like him, acting like him.
– Yeah, I mean, there was a thing that was interesting, which was when I was
first sent the script, I was reading it, and my agent had said, “They wanna see you for Stuart.” And I’m reading these first two episodes, and I’m reading it thinking
they want me to play Stuart, and I’m going oh my God, I don’t know if I’m brave enough to do that, but I’m thinking, this is fantastic, you know, and then I’m going through it, and then just as I
finish the second script, this little thing came out and it said, dear Craig, they’re looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday,
for the part of Vince. And I went, “Vince! “I can play Vince! “He’s the shy one.” And then, the point I’m
making I suppose is, at the time I was more
of a Stuart character in my own life, and so at the time, I think Aidan was, is a
very quiet kind of guy, so in a way we kind of flipped it, and I think that’s what’s worked about it. Like me sort of playing against type, and Aidan playing against type, and that somehow was all I needed. That made it easy for me,
to just play this part, that he’d written, and not question it. And the only thing is,
I think that Channel 4, about third day of filming said, “Craig, can you lighten it up a bit?” It was the one note, I think they meant can you camp it up a bit? But they just phrased it differently. But there was something about that. – Yeah, I forgot that.
– Yeah, I think I was too straight.
– Right. – In the first two days of filming. I don’t know, I can’t see it. (audience laughs) – So, Russell, it just looks like you had a lot of fun writing
the part of Vince in there. – Yes, I mean, it’s– – With his little quirks, his foibles. – Oh, I like them all though. It’s like, it is one
character split into three, it’s, I think it’s quite easy to be Vince, and I don’t mean to–
– No, no. – To think like Vince,
and I think we can all be like Stuart on certain nights, and we’re all as young as Nathan, and we can be like Stuart,
I think every single man can be like that, on the right night, in the right mood, or the wrong night, in the wrong mood, you can be like that, or you want to be like that sometimes. So, and then we’re all as daft as little Nathan running about, so it was a very, it
sounds very constructive, the schematic, now I’m
not sure I was quite aware of that when I was writing it, but when I look at it now, since I’ve gone oh wow, that’s what I was doing. – Yeah, so the kind of archetypes that are inside everybody’s brain, you know, the different– – Yes, and you know, it was the laughter that Stuart was getting in
tonight was great actually, it was, you know, it’s amazing how we seem to be on his side, it was– – Did you not say, did I
not have the conversation with you that they were all sides of you? Do you remember that?
– Well, I suppose. – I thought I was playing you. (audience laughs) I thought I was playing you, just a slightly smaller version. You know, ’cause you’re about 6’7″. – But it’s always, it’s
always a bit easy to say, you know, ’cause there’s that niceness, I mean I don’t think Vince
is just nice, I think– – [Craig] Well he’s got
a side to him, hasn’t he? – Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think
he’s a bit of a coward, I love the fact that
they’re far more interesting than just nice, you know, that
fascinating thing he does, he lies about having had sex, to Stuart, that he keeps his own sex life hidden, because he fancies Stuart, so he makes out that he’s still, he’s going without, and he doesn’t take Nathan home, actually, I think we’d all like
to think that we’d all kind of summon the nerve to
drive Nathan home that night, he doesn’t, he leaves him there. So, you know, there’s, I like to think they’re more interesting than that, that they all strike different positions, and they can all be nice,
they can all be nasty. – Do you remember what
you told me about Hazel? – No. No, what did I say?
– Anything. – What, it was a long time. – You told me that,
’cause everyone was saying that she was, you know, the mother that every gay man wanted, you said, “I think she’s selfish.” Said, “I think she’s
stolen Vince’s thunder. “He’s come out, he’s gone into that scene, “she’s gone along to have a look, “and she’s gone brilliant.”
– Yeah. (audience laughs) – And then there’s the money. (laughs) And that helps as well, because you don’t want to be playing an angel or a cork. – Yes they’re just more interesting when you turn them, yes, yeah. – Just to go back about the Vince thing, one thing that really did help me, and shone through in the script, was this idea of unrequited love. – Yeah. – That was quite easy to
play ’cause at some point in you life, you know, I
mean for me I was about nine. (all chuckling) And where there’s an unrequited love, and there’s something that’s quite kind of romantic about that, there’s something that’s,
although it’s quite painful, it’s quite beautiful, and it’s quite, it quite, yeah, you kind of enjoy it. Do you know what I mean? – Yes.
– It’s like, it’s the perfect thing, and in– – It’s quite easy.
– Yeah, it’s the perfect thing, isn’t it? And in fact, in “Queer as Folk” two, when sort of Vince has the option to do that–
– Yes. – He doesn’t want to. – No, no, no exactly, yes. – He doesn’t want to ruin it. Have you seen “Queer as Folk” two? (audience laughs) Spoiler alert! – So, Russell, I mean, talking about falling in love at age nine, that does bring us on to
quite a serious point, with what we’ve just seen, which is that we’ve got Stuart talking
about having had an affair with his gym teacher, aged 12.
– 12, yes. – And the fact that Nathan is 15 in this. Would you still write that today? – Oh, absolutely, yes, yes, yes. I mean, it’s like, it
doesn’t matter whether it’s illegal or immoral, it’s a story, stories are much more interesting than just illegal or immoral, and I wrote what I was seeing, that’s why I created Nathan,
was I used to go clubbing on Canal Street, but the first time, you were starting to see 15
year olds going down there, which was a revolution. They were very rare in
1999, but that’s why they were fascinating,
because for the first time they had the nerve to
kind of leave their bed. When I was, when I was younger, when I was 15, 16, everyone was going out, having sex at 14, 15, 16,
they were all doing it, in the straight clubs, that was happening down nights in Swansea. Everyone were down nights, nights, and they all wanted,
having sex under the pier, and in Swansea, it was
just a normal sex life for teenagers, that’s denied to, not just denied to gay people, but denied in fiction, and in literature, and in morality to gay people, so it was time to open those doors, and sort of say, I saw them in real life, the comets, you know,
they were extraordinary, like unicorns, it was an
extraordinary thing to see, and they had to be written about; and that story about the
being 12 with the gym teacher, that’s my friend Jay, who did that, and whenever you see stuff that’s not talked about, that’s
hidden, that’s forbidden, that’s the stuff you wanna write about, that’s where you wanna go, and say, this is happening, it
doesn’t mean that it’s good, and I think it’s very interesting to see the night that, I mean
that’s tough script, it’s quite a ruthless script,
it doesn’t just go back to Stuart’s flat once, it
goes back twice in one night. They go away to the hospital,
and they bring him back, and they have different
forms of sex each time, and it’s good and it’s
bad, and he’s frightened. It’s that weird little
moment where he goes and steals the flowers off the old man. The story’s very consciously
and conscientiously following Nathan, tracking
him through that night, and as to whether it’s good
or bad, what he goes through, I don’t care, that’s up to the audience, or that’s up to critics or whatever, but I think it’s a very believable night that he goes through. I think it’s true, I believe it. – I think the thing that
has gripped people about it, is that it’s so transgressive, all the way through, there are these complete
transgressions happening just casually like that.
– Yes, yes. – And those of us who lead
kind of staged, timid lives, find that liberating in a way, but it must also have
caused a hell of a stink, in terms of the tabloids,
and the enemies of Channel 4, and particularly the homophobes
who were out in force. – Well I suppose, to an extent, but the more interesting thing maybe is the gay people that didn’t like it, I used to go out clubbing after this, and the doorman on Cruise
101 would sit there, you’ve set us back 20
years, his fag like that, you’ve set us back 20
years, and he meant it, he really, really meant it, you know, gay men were just being seen onscreen. There was a big public
meeting about “Queer as Folk” in an old pub called,
oh, what’s it called, Revolution or something,
and what was it called? Anyway, the RTS had
this big public meeting where a lot people, a lot of gay people were up in arms about it, I could see why, I’m not, I wasn’t sitting there going, gosh, I’m shocked, because
I completely understand why. One man stood up and
said, “I just sit in here “and read a book all day,
I go home and read books “every night, why don’t
you show that on telly?” Well that’s fucking interesting isn’t it? (audience laughs) Drama that is. (audience applauding)
Bless him. But he had a point, I knew what he meant, that you know, do I wanna
show that to my mother? Used to get my mother to watch this, do we have to be seen as
sexual creatures all the time? Well, I say all the time,
we weren’t seen at all on television, so you can’t say we’re seen as that all the time, but do
we have to be seen as this? I get that point, I am
fascinated in the sex stuff, I’m fascinated by the,
that’s not just about sex, that’s about the politics between men, there’s very little actual sex in there, but the power games going on between a 30-year-old, and a 15-year-old, and between a man who doesn’t, who’s unrequited love
with his best friend, that, what I’m calling
politics, which is just men negotiating around each other, that, I could write that forever,
I find that fascinating, I have written that forever,
I find that fascinating. I love that stuff, it just
so happens to involve sex, which heightens the game, but gosh. – Well it’s interesting because in a way it’s when men are having sex with men, that they become gay men, you know, when they get out of the
car and cross the road they become a pedestrian,
when they go to Majorca they become holiday makers. I mean it’s just another label that you put on a human being. – I suppose.
– That in this aspect, I am a queer man, and in this
aspect I am a holiday maker. – I suppose the enemies
of that would argue when I cross the road to
my car, I am a queer man. I get that argument, fine
go write your own script, thank you, I’m busy over here. But, and also, the whole
ethos behind that argument somehow carries a taint
with it that sex is bad, no matter how much I try to be nice and qualified and agree with those people, those gay men who don’t
wanna see sex onscreen, I can’t help thinking
there’s some sort of shame, there’s some sort of
burden, there’s some sort of embarrassment, there’s some
sort of angst behind it all. So, I have a hard, that’s why I appreciate that point of view, but I
do have a hard time with it. – You were talking about
the relations between the men, but Denise, he writes
really well for women also, how was it, speaking Russell’s words, as the programme developed.
– I don’t remember filming series one as being fun, I
remember it as being quite tense, because for instance, quite early on, were all the Stuart, at
the flat, sex scenes, and most of the crew were straight, and there were a lot of
problems with the sound, and the logistic problems, and I actually think it put quite a lot
of stress on everyone, so Hazel was kinda like relief. You know, like it tracks down doesn’t it, good fucks, necessaries, cut to Hazel. (audience laughs) – My broadband’s still that slow. – And the number– – It doesn’t change. – And my favourite ever recognition was from a guy in Manchester
who said, was it Manchester? Hm, Liverpool possibly, who said, “The first time I saw you, I was wanking.” (audience laughs) – Nothing to do with “Queer as Folk”. (Denise laughs) – Bio-Oil. (all laughing)
(audience applauding) – That’s how to time a
joke, that’s very good. – Great, there is a big
part of you that is Vince. (all laughing) – I think I am Vince
in a lot of ways, yeah, and I think that I know there’s a, yeah, Vince is here, you know what I mean? He’s in my spirit. – What do you think, all of you, the legacy of this has been though? 20 years on, I can’t
believe it’s 20 years, but 20 years on, the landscape is changed beyond recognition in many ways, for one thing, Channel 4 doesn’t occupy that same kind of key position because we’ve got
Netflix, we’ve got Amazon, we’ve got Sky, and all these other things dominating the landscape,
but what do you see in the way of echoes, all of you, from that in today’s world? – It’s hard to say, it’s hard
for us, for me to judge that. I’ve got no idea, and
you meet, you do meet young 18 year old gay
people that have never heard of it now, which is fine, move on. It’s like we don’t all look
back on the Spanish flu do we? (audience laughs) Life goes on, so you
know, you meet some people who were very, very proud of it, I meet an awful lot of people who tell me that they wanked off to
my work, which is great. (audience laughs) Who did, come on? One! (all laughing) – No, there’s more than one, there’s gotta be ’cause I mean, I’ve been to a few parties
where I’ve been told things. – Oh, right. (audience laughs) – No, I have, and I’ve gone, “Okay, “that’s very interesting.” – I do know there’s one
concrete echo you can look at which is Eileen’s house
in Coronation Street, my friend Tony Wood was
the producer of that, and he invented Eileen’s
house and Hazel’s house. He said to me, “I’m going
to do Eileen’s house, “and get Anthony Cotton as the gay lodger, “and have it as a home
of waifs and strays, “like Bernie’s in there.” And that’s still the case
on Coronation Street, that house is still a house
full of lodgers like that. So that’s– – I’m older than you,
and all my profession I have been extremely,
like it’s normalised for me that people are gay because
our industry is very mixed, and so a lot of this was kind of shocking to learn about the
pressures on gay people, ’cause I hadn’t experienced them, but when we went out, I
went out with Anthony, and I can’t remember if you
were there, we were in a bar in Canal Street.
– Canal Street. – And a guy was looking at me, and he hated me, he wanted me dead. He wanted me dead, in that second he wanted me to hurt and perish in Hell, and I, all my hair stood on end, ’cause nobody’s hated
me for no reason before, and I turned to Anthony, and he said, “oh, welcome to my
world, that’s everyday.” And I think things have changed, I was singing at gay pride recently, which is a legacy of something I’m allowed to do as a result of this, and I still think that we have to fight actually for tolerance, because although there’s been a huge shift in our culture, look at where we are
politically at the moment, and don’t you fear that it could just go like that?
– Absolutely. (audience applauds) – Owen Jones in the Guardian
wrote a really nice piece about “Queer as Folk”
in February this year, and the quote I’ve got, it said, “the defiance of “Queer as
Folk” was liberating,” he said, “for gay men of all ages who had been “brought up in a society
that made them feel “like deviants and objects of pity. “This was a TV show that unapologetically “showed love and sex.” So, well done, you.
– That’s nice, thank you Thank you.
(audience applauds) – But he also goes on to complain that there’s been very
little follow through in terms of what else
has come in its wake, that in many ways young
people who grow up, LGBT, in isolated parts of the country, don’t, still don’t,
actually have any kind of mainstream role models.
– To an extent, I mean, yes there could always be more, and I’d have gays on telly every night, for 24 hours a day, and yet, but you tend to find that
a lot of commentators, cultural and political commentators don’t actually watch TV, they don’t. It’s like, because actually, the history, just look at the soap opera, the history of their gay casting, casting gay as gay, and telling gay stories is vast, I mean Hollyoaks, you can’t
fucking move for them. (audience laughs) And seriously, I know, and I’m not, yes there should be always be more, but I could rattle off a long list of just Skins, stuff like that, there’s been an awful
lot of very good stuff, so it’s not quite the
hinterlands that we think it is. – Okay, but what about the U.S. version, you know, did you have to,
did it have to be adapted and changed much for that? – That was very faithful,
they couldn’t let Nathan be a 15 year old, they had to make him 17, that’s fine, the story still works. – They’ve got better
teeth and hair though. (audience laughs) That’s what I got from it. – And I’m Sharon Gless.
– I thought ours was better. Ours was better. – (gasps) Don’t start them. (audience applauds) – Were we more progressive
in the UK at that time, than they were in the states? Was there more licence with Channel 4, than you had with the U.S. broadcasting? – There’s always, we’re a little quirky, strange little country,
I remember round about the time that, it was a few years when Bob and Rose was going out, but a couple years after “Queer as Folk”, you had Saturday morning telly being presented by Brian
from “Big Brother,” and H from “Steps,” one who was out, and one who was in but
gay, and I just think, watching that thinking, what a brilliant country we live in. That they’re presenting
children’s programmes. It is so strange and eccentric, that combination, and, so yeah. Part of the benefit of our stuff, then and now, is that we don’t
sell as worldwide as much, we don’t create monoliths as much, they’re not as, they’re
not just great, big, ball-busting programmes
that run for 10 years, and with those great, big franchises. So we’re a bit more free to fiddle about in the corners and explore stuff I think, and the franchises of the channels, have a, Channel 4, and
the BBC to an extent, have it built into them to be different, and to look for original stuff, and therefore to look for minority stuff, or to make the minority the mainstream, it’s built into the
heart of our programming, that’s not in America
either, so, yeah, great. – So I just want to say
that for all the stuff you’re saying which is absolutely true, I just think Russell
has a particular place, I’ve just watched “Years and Years,” and that little bit that’s
going around on social media, of Anne Reid’s character saying, “You’re to blame, you blame everybody else “but it’s the Primark t-shirt.” I think Russell’s just a
very courageous writer, and that’s why it’s so good. (audience applauds) – And we do, we do live
in a terrible world now, it’s a terrible world, my God, we’ve gone down the plughole, ’cause it’s like, we now
have a prime minister who’s called us bum boys, a prime minister has called us bum boys, and he went to public school, don’t tell me he didn’t
have that pink arse of his out for the rugby team, frankly. (audience cheers and laughs) That’s now the cabinet. All those people who had
him are in the cabinet. (Denise laughs) That’s what happens. – Yeah, he is such a stain. – Bio-Oil, you should use Bio-Oil. – Don’t give him that tip,
because he needs to be gone as soon as possible.
– That’s actually the country we live in now, that’s really
the country we live in, it’s not a joke, that’s it. – Yeah, but I mean, taking Denise’s point of how fast these things can change, when you look at the USA of Barack Obama, followed by the USA of Donald Trump, overnight, the word, the
letters LGBT disappeared off the White House website, overnight, and do we think that can happen here? – [Russell] Absolutely. Yes, yes.
– In the same way, as quickly? – Yes, yeah I do absolutely. I don’t doubt it for a second. Yeah, danger all the time.
– Millie Tate. Millie Tate. – [Tom] So, what do any of us do? – You have to vote,
all you can do is vote, and all you can do is harang people. Genuinely I get my nieces to vote, they don’t vote, but like I make them, to be honest, I give
them a hundred quid each to go and vote.
(audience laughs) Then they go and vote. It’s like, I don’t know what they vote, but I presume they vote the right way. I do, I make them vote by doing that. That works. – You did. – Yeah, I did. So I played reprized Hazel in “Cucumber,” which I don’t want to spoil for you. (audience applauds) It was a two day out,
and totally wonderful, but my friend Jay here
hasn’t watched it yet, so I can’t tell any of you what happened. But unfortunately, I’m
currently looking for work. (audience laughs) – Well thank goodness this is
being broadcast on YouTube. (Denise laughs) – And it’s being watched
by the government. – Yes, quite closely I believe. – What’s that Stormzy song? – Which particular Stormzy song? – I think he says, fuck the
government, and fuck Boris. (audience laughs) – I’m not a fan of his, to be fair. (audience laughs) – We sort of got that idea. – Yes.
(audience laughs) Yes, I did. Christ, yeah, it brought
me a lot of attention. I was, yeah, I mean I was
actually quite popular with girls, more so than I’d ever been,
playing that character. And what’s interesting about that, is when I took the role on, there was a friend at the time, that was, you know, was
a little narrow-minded, he went, “Don’t do that, mate! “Don’t do that”, I said “Why?” He said, “You play a gay
man, you’ll be hounded “by the gays, they’ll hound ya.” And I said, “No, no I
don’t, I don’t think so.” (audience laughs) And he went, “What do you know? “They’ll hound ‘ya!” And–
– Did they? – No, not once, I’ve just been
hounded by straight women! (audience laughs) I mean, not since I’ve been married, I hastened to that end. (Denise laughs)
Happily, babe. But before I met my wife, I
was hounded by straight women. But no, to be fair, and this
is an absolute serious point, I have had nothing but love and respect from the gays, you know, from the gay community. (audience laughs) No, it’s been nothing
but kindness and love, and you know, when your mate tells you something like
that, so persuasively, you do worry, but no,
not at all, not at all. – Oh, I think boundaries
keep setting again, revolutions have to keep
happening, Tolstoy said that. Thank you for allowing
me to quote Tolstoy. (audience laughs) Yes, I think now, if you wanted to have a 15 year old having sex,
you’d have to go in– (audio cackling) The elements from scratch again, and as though that had never happened. But that’s all right, that’s not to say you wouldn’t get past it, but. And, I have to say, I never had any serious objection to
that, but that’s slightly a lie though, it’s like most commissions, all commissions are
very open to LGBT stuff, you can tell that by watching television. It’s like, yeah, it’s
a very different world. It’s hard for me to say that, because they’re not gonna
argue with me, are they? I wrote that, so if you want me to take out my gay scene, I just kill you. So.
(audience laughs) It’s like, but then
again, what I can’t see are the rooms I’m not allowed into because I wrote that,
there might be some people that just won’t have a
meeting with Russell Davies, but not really, it’s like what, they’re television commissioners, they’re all gay as fucking geese. (audience laughs) So, it’s not bad, but–
– Is that an actual phrase? – It is now. Gay as a goose. – I love it.
– Gay as a goose. – Gay as a goose. It’s a Waitrose goose? – I think things are
more, we’re more woke, for want of a better phrase,
and I think people are, you know, trigger warnings
and stuff like that, so I think you get people
diligence with stuff now, and I think a little bit
more beady with about stuff, and it was a bit of a
free-for-all in 1999. Yeah, let’s do this. But that’s all right,
there’s nothing wrong with diligence, diligence is, that’s like diligence is like the health
and safety of scripts, and that’s the most
shocking scene in that, is driving up that school drive, with all those, those are real kids, really jumping around. That you wouldn’t be allowed to shoot now. (all laughing) No way would you be–
– That wasn’t CGI was it? – And they’re just extras,
they’re not stunt kids. (audience laughs) I watched that, like
that, going oh my God. – Have you seen what’s written on that car?
– Seriously, would not be allowed to do that,
seriously wouldn’t be. Yes, but as long as it’s
well-written and honest, as making a point, as long as it’s not a salacious version of
that, if it was like, if that’s supposed to be sexy, then there’s something going wrong there. But you know, I think that, you know, those scenes are quite strange in “Queer as Folk”, I think,
I don’t find them sexy at all, I think that the power
balance is going on. The second one, Stuarts
off his head drunk, it’s really quite, while he’s fucking him, it’s really quite alarming, but safe, I think he always feels
safe, I think he is there under his own agency, but it’s
not meant to be comfortable. That’s great, that’s good drama. Not really, because, I
mean maybe you could do like a charity thing or
something one day, but I think, I mean I did do a series
about gay men in their 50’s, it was called “Cucumber,” died
a death, no one wanted it. So it’s like, but no, so
I’ve kind of touched on that. So, no, I do know, spoke to Aidan recently who loves Stuart Jones,
he was just saying, “Can we do a film? “Do a film about what he’s doing now?” And I was just delighted that he thought that much of that character,
that he thought about him all these years afterwards,
all that he’s done, I was amazed by that, I was
really honoured by that. What a nice thing to say, but you know, move on, new stuff, new stuff. I think there’s something
to be under the title, “Queer as Folk”, I think it’s,
I think there are very few gay brands around, and
it is a bit of a brand, even the being forgotten slightly, so maybe I think, we’ll see, I don’t know. It’s very deliberate joys, that the one, you are right to an extent, Denise, you were sort of saying, it was, yes it was a fun shoot, it was
also tense at the same time. It was quite a ongoing
conversation with Channel 4 about how joyous it was,
and how to celebrate. They wanted it to be all
joy, and all celebration, and they absolutely fundamentally objected to Phil’s death, in episode three, literally saying we shouldn’t do it, and this is while we started shooting, and they were like coming
up to Canal Street, and having meetings with us, and saying, “You can’t do that, it’s
too dark, it’s too serious.” And that’s, I disagree,
and that’s when you kind of discover who you are as a writer, who just dug my heels
in, absolutely refused to write it, to rewrite it. Which is dodgy, but I did, and I won, and I was right, I think,
but that was the battle. You know, I used to sit and think, they can’t tell me my
life’s a celebration, and as a show it is immensely joyous, that music, everything, it’s full of life, more than joyous it’s
just alive, isn’t it? Just to say how well
shot it is, by the way, and how well designed–
– And directed, well directed.
– And directed, and the lighting, and that flat– – Make-up’s good ‘eh? (audience laughs) – That flat designed by Clair Kenny, that’s just an empty space that flat, she built the entire thing inside an empty space in Anne Coates. So there is a lot of joy in it, but there’s more than
that, and I used to get very annoyed at being told it
should just be celebratory. I sit there in the new union
having an argument with them, you think I just walk
around celebrating my life? Hooray! He’s like, “Actually I do.” (audience laughs) So you know, that, so there
was a bit of a battle. When I call it a battle, they
were really lovely people, they were the people who commissioned it, and you know, we knew each other, and that’s actually a
healthy creative discussion to be having about the turn of events, and we did keep it fun and joyous as well, so yeah, I think we–
– We did lose our sponsors after episode one, though didn’t we?
– Yeah, we did. – Beck’s. (Denise laughs) It was, it was Beck’s. – Beck’s Beer, yes, yes, yes. Yes, because the daughter of herr Beck’s was in London and turned
on the television, saw the oopsie daisies. (audience laughs) Oh mein God!
– Scheeisse! – Mein God, and phoned her father, saying, “You must take this off, “take your sponsorship off
the bums and the gays.” (audience laughs) And they did, and they did! And that’s actually
when, it’s not Channel 4 didn’t get scared, the publicity people at Channel 4 got very scared,
I was getting phone calls on Saturday night
saying, “Just tell people “they’ve rearranged
their European schedule.” That’s it, and I did go
along with that to an extent, that’s ’cause they are your pay masters, so I gave interviews with them. They’ve rearranged
their European schedule, no they didn’t they were
homophobic bastards and pulled out! Imagine the daughter watching
it now, “Oh mein God!” (all laughing) I don’t think I’ve ever told you that. – I did not know that.
– No, we were not allowed to tell us, so probably
not allowed to tell it now, but I don’t care.
(audience laughs) – Thank God this isn’t being televised. – I’m still a fan of “Doctor Who.” I just love it, for life, obvious answer. But what’s the weirdest
thing a fan has ever, I don’t know know, over
to, I’ll have a think, over to you Denise. – You’re asking what, what, what? – What are you a fan of?
– At this moment, I wanna hear music, I go
through different phases, so I just really wanna
hear music at the moment. The drama that I’m watching,
I was watching “Russian Doll,” I’ve absolutely guzzled “Years and Years,” I’m dying to see “Cucumber” again. The funniest thing a fan ever said? So Coronation Street, way back when, called me up, and they
were worried about my arm, and they said, “Would they like to, “would I be willing to
mention it in the story?” And I said, “Yes, as long
as you’re not embarrassed.” And the director was
very, very embarrassed, and there was a character
who’d lost a leg, who had to say that he
felt like half a man, and I had to say, “Well my
arms never held me back.” But I didn’t have the line my arm, so I just said, “Well
it’s never held me back”, and then there was supposed
to be a shot of my arm. The director got nervous,
so I got my favourite ever fan letter which said, I didn’t know you have a prosthetic leg. (audience laughs) It’s a very good match for the other one. (audience laughs) And I think you’re very sexy. (audience laughs) – It’s true.
(audience applauds) I have, I have remembered one fan thing which is someone was very nice in an auditorium of a theatre, and got me to sign something that said, I love “Doctor Who,” I love “Torchwood,” and then she said, and I love “The Lives and
Loves of a She-Devil.” And I said, “You’ve mixed me
up with Julie T. Wallace.” (audience laughing) – Craig.
– Is it me, is it? – [Russell] C’mon, what you a fan of? – Well the weirdest thing
a fan’s ever sent me, I simply couldn’t say. (audience laughs) (audience chattering) – C’mon Craig.
– No. – [Russell] What, pants? – No. – Worse than pants?
– No it was just a joke! – [Russell] Oh. – No, I’ve been sent pants, yeah, with, well I was actually onstage, actually at the Donmar,
not been sent them, well I was sent them, it was at the end, I was at the Donmar, just
after “Queer as Folk”, the first one, you know,
so I thought of myself as a serious actor, and I was
in this play at the Donmar, being a serious actor and
thinking this is amazing, I’m doing the curtain call
and this actually happened. Six pairs of knickers,
(Denise laughs) as we were getting a round of applause. (mimicking knickers thudding) And Art Malik’s looking to me on the left, and I’m thinking, they’re
not for you, mate. (audience laughing) And it was like, it was never mentioned, no one ever mentioned it, and I’ve got these knickers draped on me, and with all the numbers and the things, and then outside these
girls were there waiting, and they went, “Did you get the knickers?” I went, “Were they for me?” And they went, “Did you get the numbers?” I went, “I did,” and I
didn’t know what else to say, so that’s the weirdest
thing that’s happened. Me and Tom Jones, and I’m
a fan of lots of things, I mean I’m a fan of music and films, football, Liverpool,
massive fan of Liverpool, and you know, I’m a fan of life. – Aw. I love the way Art Malik made a little cameo appearance there.
(audience laughs) – He did look at me though,
and it was like a moment. But I was like, “no they’re
definitely not for you mate.” – I’ve always wanted
to work with Art Malik, in case he says something funny, and I’d say “You’re a
smart alec, Art Malik.” (audience laughs) I’ve always wanted to do that. – I’ve been his wife. – Have you been his wife?
– I’ve been his wife. – Did you say, you’re a smart alec, Art Malec?
– You’ve been his wife? – In “Chekhov.” – Oh, “Chekhov”?
– Jesus, which one? – Oh no, it’s not true,
I was in love with him, he didn’t know, he didn’t wanna know me. – Did you have any boxer
shorts throwing at ‘yer? – Any pants?
– Any pants? – (laughs) Pants. – I think, I think in hindsight– – Unrequited. – In hindsight, I think I peaked. It was the peak. – Six pound peak.
– What about you? What about you, Tom? – Okay, well I’m a fan of a
series of detective novels called “Rivers of London,”
by Ben Aaronovitch. – Oh, I love those. – They’re fantastic.
– Oh, yeah, yeah. I’ve got those.
– And particularly, the audiobooks of them which are read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, who’s a fantastic actor,
has special voices for all the characters,
he just brings the whole thing to life, it’s– – [Russell] He once wrote
“Doctor Who,” Ben Aaronovitch. – Did he?
– Yeah, yeah, yeah. “Remembrance of the Daleks,” he wrote. – I did “Blake’s 7” with him.
– Did you? – Yeah, with the radio series, or talking books, it was– – Well “Rivers of London,” if you know, do Google.
– Yeah, yeah, yeah. – Do Google it, and get
the audiobook of book one, and if you like it, there’s loads of them, and my whole family
just love those stories. They’re great, and–
– And a fan story? – Oh, the fan, yeah.
– Yeah, don’t wiggle out! (audience laughs) – Any knickers? – I can raise your knickers. – Oh, Jesus.
(audience laughs) How is that possible? – Because on my 29th birthday, the modestly named Tom Robinson Band was playing at the Capitol
Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey. And it was my birthday,
we played the show, came back off stage
into the dressing room, and somebody had sent a
package which I unwrapped, and it was a chocolate penis, (audience laughs)
this big. And just joking with the
other members of the band, I went to, and the photographer from the Village Voice,
went (mimicking camera). (audience laughs) And that picture is still
out there on the internet. – Did you manage to take
a bite though, after? – Oh yeah. – I don’t.
(audience laughs) – Was it, was it chocolatey?
– Not, not, not, not that particular one. (all laughing) (audience applauding) – Can I see this picture? – Just Google it, you’ll find it. – I’ve since thrown the knickers away. – Good! – No, there was a period of time where, no, no, there was a period of time where I thought it was quite
good to have, they were clean. (Denise laughing)
And I sort of had them like– – You did this. – I, you know, I sort of couldn’t, it was like, it was just a bizarre thing. – Son.
– Yes? – Sh.
– More questions. Yeah, that, I mean that’s
huge, settle down everyone. (audience laughs) I think just, I mean, you’ve gotta learn actually to be a bit of a showman, it’s like just remember
when you’re pitching a story to someone,
you’re telling the story, like any story you want
them to be entertained, so it’s the same thing as sitting round with your mates telling a funny story, or a dramatic story, or what
happened to you that morning. Just tell it well, that’s the thing, it’s like, don’t talk about themes, don’t sit there going, the theme of this is the fall of the EU. It’s like, just tell the story. I think that’s the most important thing, have a good story, and don’t
make it too long in the pitch, this is specifically the pitch now, I know people talk about the
one minute elevator pitch, and stuff like that, but
that’s not a cynical thing, story that can be summed up quite quickly is a good thing, we all
breathe a sigh of relief and we can go home
early, thank you, hooray. So it’s like, no, there’s a lot of advice about this online, and it’s good advice, saying keep it brief, keep it honest, keep it succinct, have
fun, make ’em laugh, that doesn’t do any harm,
and don’t ramble on forever. That’s not bad, here we go, hey. – [Craig] Nice. – Oh, that’s interesting. Hmm, well, I’ve never thought of them in the same breath, I’ve gotta say, ’cause actually he’s commonly known, when we talk about Vince, Jack’s confidence is the polar opposite, so maybe that is a development. To do the opposite of someone, does indicate that as a
starting point, I suppose. But, yeah he was just, it’s funny, I’ll tell you exactly where he comes from, ’cause it was in the
very first screening ever of “Queer as Folk”, was in Birmingham, in what was that nightclub
called, Nightingales? Is that a place in Birmingham? It was like on, before
it was on Channel 4, it was like on a, like
on a Sunday afternoon, and only about 12 people turned up, and lovely a man was in
it, Richard Fairbrass was hosting this, this night. So, and I went in on my
own, why this happened before transmission, it’s
just one of those things. And literally, so we showed it, and then it was like Q
and A from the crowd, and the very first question was, “Where are the bisexuals?” You go, oh for fuck’s sake. (audience laughs) Just made that, and you find fault, but actually I listened to that question, and the truth of it is, I kind of went oh right, there’s further to go, and I literally invented
Captain Jack Harkness from that, I wish I knew
who that person was, that person who asked
that question in the crowd created Jack Harkness in that moment, isn’t that funny? And, God, bet they don’t
remember who they were. We don’t remember that moment. So it’s not a reaction to Vince, but it’s part of the
chain of “Queer as Folk”, of people reacting to it,
and saying what’s missing. So yeah. – And can I say a personal
thank you, as well, for that, because when people talk about LGBT, they all too often forget what
the B stands for in there, so thank you.
(audience applauds) – Well it very clearly
allowed them all to happen, I mean from that point on, once you’ve, and actually it could have been, you know within the television industry people loved that, you
know, it didn’t just get, it was not just a wild piece of Channel 4 where the head of drama at ITV, man called Nick Elliot, you know, the ITV that makes “Midsummer Murders,” and “Cold Feet,” and you
know, well Cold Feet’s quite progressive sometimes, but you know, the Channel is more traditional stuff, Nick, he opened the door. It was at the Edinburgh Festival, there was a talk about this,
and he was at that talk, and he said, “Come and
write something for ITV.” Which turned into Bob and Rose, which was, that’s
actually a bisexual story, that I loved writing, I loved that, so it, I’ve been very lucky that that show keeps opening doors. Now it sort of wedges the door open, now if you’re commissioning, I mean, and also, but it’s 2019, if you’re the commissioner at the BBC, getting “Years and Years” off me, there’s a gay man in the
lead who’s having an affair, and there’s also his gay sister lining up to take his place once he’s there, and there wasn’t a single
question from anyone, anywhere, about should we be doing this, it’s just, it’s just absolutely automatic that that’s fine, and that’s natural. It’s like, it’s, the head of drama there, he’s a gay man as well, so he’s obviously open to that stuff, so. But I’m not saying I did that, the world did that. Funny thing is, I realise
now, watching it tonight, he won’t mind me saying this, is that the school bully, Christian Hobbs, is as gay as a nine bob note now. (audience laughs) Oh, you should see him
on Instagram, Craig, oh my God! Put it away, put it, we don’t do that! – What’s his tag name? Tell me later. – Very out and happily gay. There must be, when you’re put on the spot like that I can’t think of any. It’s funny, I was talking, not recently, I was talking earlier
about “Prick Up Your Ears.” I was talking with, I was actually did an interview earlier,
I was just saying “If only Joe Orton was alive “in this day and age.”
– Absolutely. – Because he was doing this in the ’60s, happily doing this, being as
progressive as a nut case. Imagine what he’d be doing now, he’d be bored with all this, bored, and running off to do
something much wilder. What a terrible death, what a shame that he’s no longer with us. So that’s not exactly, not exactly modern, but something like “Prick Up Your Ears,” you watch that, you go, which is both the closeted time that he lived in, it’s by Stephen Frears isn’t it? I think he did that, yeah, and that’s a great, great piece of work for saying, look how free,
and look how liberated, and look how dangerous it was
for him, at the same time. Yeah.
– I’ve just done a Rattigan. – Have you?
– Yeah. I’ve just done “Deep
Blue Sea” and he wrote it for two gay men because his
lover had killed himself, and then he had to change
it to a man and a woman, and then there’s a character in it who’s been done for
cottaging, and they take out any mention of that.
– Bundle of laughs then. – Hey.
(audience laughs) – You know, it’s extraordinary, this is what you were saying, Denise, that those battles have to be fought again, and again, and like that, this stuff in Birmingham,
it isn’t just confined to Birmingham, it is gonna happen again, and again, and again,
and keep on happening, and what strikes me is it’s just, to this day, I’m from a
family full of teachers, and it’s like clause 28, section 28 was like the most, was the most ridiculous thing in the world because, but apart from anything else, they were protecting us from nothing. It’s not like the school libraries were full of homosexuals and lesbians. It’s like, believe me,
I just wrote a speech about this in the new script, but it’s like, I’d just written a speech, and it’s a teacher, in 1988, that is sent to go and empty the library of all the gay material,
and they come back to him, and he goes, There’s nothing,
there’s nothing, I’ve looked.” And he says, “I’ve looked in Shakespeare “and there’s nothing.” He said, “You might get
a bit of fruity stuff “onstage with a man in a toga, “but that’s the director, not the books, “’cause in the whole of Shakespeare, “there’s not one man with a man, “and there’s not one woman with a woman.” Jane Austen did not write any lesbians. There is nothing in history, there was nothing in the history books. You might have a Julius Caesar, and you might’ve had Aristotle, and you might have had them having a little fling with a catamite, but not in school history books. You look in sport, you look in “Asterix,” you look in “Tin Tin,”
you look in “Peanuts,” you think Marcie would be gay, but no she has a crush on Charlie Brown. It’s like there was nothing there, they built a law in section 28, they had nothing ’cause there was nothing in the libraries, there’s
nothing to influence any gay child anywhere. And there should be.
(audience applauds) – On the other hand, my son who’s young, said, “I think you’re keeping
homophobia alive, Mom, “because it’s just not
an issue in my world.” – Oh really? – Yeah, so, I think there are some people that think they’re unusual, who just feel that it’s…
– Oh that’s interesting. – Yeah, I disagree with him.
– I know. Well we’re in a very fascinating, you know, polarised, we’re all opposites, this is what “Years and Years” was about, all opposites are existing at once, it’s like you have a very
woke young generation, that we keep being told
are fluid and open, and gay, and yet you seem
to have rising hate crimes, and those two things are
happening at the same time. – Well it’s like an undercurrent going in the opposite way to what
you see on the surface. – Yeah, yeah, yeah.
– For sure. – Well I produced my first feature film, where I’m playing the lead, and it’s set in Blackpool,
(audience laughing) about a guy in his 40’s
having a midlife crisis. – What’s it called? When’s it out, what is it? – It’s called “Trick or Treat.” It’s me, my brother, Dean Lennox Kelly, and all my famous mates, and it’s out on November the fourth. – Wow. – Yeah. – So we’ll look out for that. (audience applauds) Denise? – I’ve just made a movie
called “The Last Tree,” written and directed by Shola Amoo, and it got picked up at Sundance, and it’s going to be on
release in picture houses, September the 20th, and I’m 61, and I just got another
part in a feature movie. (audience cheers and applauds) – I’m writing a Channel
5, part Channel 4 drama about AIDS in the ’80s, which will be on, starts
shooting in the autumn, and should be on, it’s called
“The Boys” at the moment, but there’s an Amazon
series called “The Boys,” so we’ve got to change the title, so it’ll have a new title,
but it’ll be on next year. (audience applauds) – So, Craig Kelly, Denise
Black, Russell T. Davies, I’ve been Tom Robinson,
thank you very much. (audience cheers and applauds) (soft electronic music)