Viewers turned off by gay soap
Thursday 25 February 1999
About 2.2 million viewers were watching when the programme began at 10.30pm, but by its close 40 minutes later nearly three-quarters of a million had switched off.
The programme outperformed Channel 4's share of the viewing average, claiming 15 per cent of the available audience, but that would have been the least the station's executives would have wanted: Queer as Folk was scheduled against relatively weak programming on rival networks and had been trailed heavily in a poster advertising campaign.
The drama has been marketed as significant in several respects. Although EastEnders and BBC2's This Life both introduced homosexuality into mainstream drama with varying degrees of explicitness, Queer as Folk is the first where all the main characters are gay.
Mark Watson, communications director of the gay lobby group Stonewall, played down suggestions that it represented a cultural breakthrough. "It's a piece of television drama at the end of the day," he said. "It's an interesting programme and I think it's good that we have programmes like this, but it's not a political programme."
The series is also important to Michael Jackson, chief executive of Channel 4, who believes that the network lacks signature shows that will help to define its distinctive place in British broadcasting.
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...