On This Gay Day: The US version of ‘Queer as Folk’ launched

Queer As Folk

The American version of Queer as Folk began screening on this day in 2000

It’s 23 years since the US version of Queer as Folk made its debut. For five years the adventures of Michael, Brian, Justin Emmett, Ted, Lindsay and Melanie were essential viewing on Monday nights on SBS in Australia.

Based on the British show created by Russell T Davies, which was too controversial to air on Australian screens, the American version took the plot lines of the UK version and made them into their own story.

Set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the show dived into the lives of a found family of queer characters. The pilot episode was directed by Australian filmmaker Russel Mulcahy who was one of the biggest music video directors of the 1980’s, and has gone on to become one of most successful film directors.

The series starred Gale Harold as lothario Brian Kinney, Hal Sparks played his best friend Michael Novotny, while newcomer Randy Harrison made his mark as Justin Taylor. Peter Paige portrayed Emmett Honeycutt, while Scott Lowell was Ted Schmitt. Thea Gill was Lindsey Peterson and Michelle Clunie was her partner Melanie Marcus.

Cagney and Lacey star Sharon Gless played Michael’s mother Debbie, while Robert Gant joined the show in it’s second year as Michael’s long term partner Ben Buckner – who is HIV positive.

In the years since it first aired the show has continued to find new fans, but the creators have also acknowledged there is a lack of diversity amongst the cast as all the main characters are white.

A reboot of the series arrived in 2022 but failed to recreate the magic of the original series and was cancelled after just one season.

OIP Staff

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