Russell T Davies asked to write two new dramas about gay life for Channel 4

The Doctor Who producer's new work will follow hit series Queer As Folk

Russell T Davies will write two new drama series for Channel 4, his first for the channel since 2000's popular Queer As Folk.

Penned by the man behind the re-launch of Doctor Who, the dramas, entitled Cucumber and Banana, will explore "the passions and pitfalls of 21st century gay life".

The first, Cucumber, will run on Channel 4 for eight episodes and follow the lives of Henry, 46, and his long-term boyfriend Lance. Life for the couple is happy, until death, a threesome, police cars and the Glee Christmas album turn a date night into a disaster and herald a new beginning for Henry.

Banana will serve as a companion piece on E4, also for eight episodes. This series will follow the lives of characters connected to Henry in Cucumber, from 19-year-old Dean and his family secrets to a young lesbian's first love.

Channel 4 have also commissioned "an anarchic online guide to sex" to air alongside the two dramas. Factual series Tofu will investigate sex in the 21st century in a unique and entertaining way, by giving people the chance to share their personal stories and experiences.

Davies has spoken about finding his inspiration while reading about a scientific institute that had studied the male erection:

"It divided the hard-on into four categories, from soft to hard. One, tofu. Two, peeled bananas. Three, banana. And four, cucumber. Right there and then I knew I had my drama."

Channel 4's head of drama Piers Wenger has praised Davies' unrivalled ability  to "look into the heart and soul of modern relationships". "He paints an unflinching and forensic portrait of how our sex lives affect us all," he said.

The representation of LGBT characters on television came under fire last year when a BBC report found that examples of gay people in comedy scenarios often relied too heavily on outdated stereotypes.

The study showed that gay male representation is improving on our screens but overtly camp gay men are still portrayed as the standard, particularly for comedy.

Recent ITV sitcom Vicious, starring Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi, was a comedy about an ageing gay couple who had lived in a small London flat together for 50 years.

The show rated very poorly but was praised as an example of incidental sexuality portrayal for not presenting the main characters as funny because they were gay.

Davies' three new projects will enter production in spring 2014 for broadcast later next year.

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