Enquiring Minds Want To Know
It was one of the most controversial shows ever to grace British television screens, and now Showtime is gearing up for the premiere of its adaptation of the series that seemingly could do no wrong (well, except for some fashion and continuity issues) -- Queer as Folk. Its creator, Russell T. Davies, gave me the chance to really hone my Vince impersonation ("Oh. My. GOD!") when he dropped me an e-mail a few weeks ago, saying that he liked the site and the recaps. Shriek! Because I figured the worst-case scenario would be getting rejected, I asked Russell if I could interview him for MBTV, and he was more than happy to comply. Without further adieu, here's what he had to say over the course of our torrid e-mail exchanges.
della femina: First off, I have to say that Queer as Folk was a rarity amongst Mighty Big TV shows, in that it was a genuinely excellent show, and one that was unanimously loved by everyone on the forums.
Russell T. Davies: Thank you! That's one of the reasons I liked [MBTV] when I first came across it -- not just cos you liked [Queer as Folk], but you take the piss! The site talks about TV in the way that I watch it. Like, "What's that shirt?!" And I've now discovered you can keep me up to date with Buffy and Angel, you bastards, I'm hooked.
della femina: I think the fans of the show are really nervous about how the U.S. version is going to turn out. You've said in other interviews that you're not really bothered, because if the worst-case scenario comes to fruition and it sucks dogs, the original is still there to be enjoyed. Still, don't you feel a bit protective of your art and how the American interpretation may reflect on your creation? American productions of good British programmes -- Cracker, your ears should be burning -- don't have a terribly good track record, after all.
Russell T. Davies: True, true, but Cracker's still brilliant, Fitz [the main character] hasn't tarnished my memories of it.
It's strange, this, and I've thought a lot about it, so I might ramble on. But actually, stories should be told again, in different ways, by different people; that's how stories survive, especially good ones. I've always been happy with people chucking stories around and changing them. Like Disney got such flack from cultural snobs, when they have the temerity to give Beauty & The Beast and The Little Mermaid happy endings; but they're brilliant rewrites! I'm laughing now, at the thought of Disney's Little Mermaid dying at the end. That would work! So if someone takes my story and changes it, that's actually a compliment to the story. And I think the story survives. Not just in UK videotapes, but peeking through the U.S. version, all the time. If I was posh, I could use the word palimpsest, but I'm not, so I won't. But I don't feel protective of my creation -- I can't say "art"! -- because actually, the creation's fine! Imagine if the story died, and gathered dust. That would be worse.