Queer as Folk creator Russell T Davies says Disney makes him fear for the future of gay entertainment

Russell T Davies on biggest challenge to casting gay actors in gay roles

Queer as Folk creator Russell T Davies has challenged Disney’s approach to LGBT+ content, tearing into the sorry offering available on streaming platform Disney Plus.

Speaking at the virtual Edinburgh TV Festival, the TV creator — known for creating a swathe of beloved LGBT-focused shows — questioned the lack of visibility for LGBT+ content on Disney’s new steaming platform.

He said: “My great worry with huge monoliths like [Disney Plus] is it’s family orientated, it’s family friendly.

“Disney is out to buy all of these companies and will keep buying them, and then, as a gay man, I’m sitting there going: ‘Well where is my content?’

“When Disney Plus launched they had 3,931 hours of entertainment, it took 23 weeks to watch; I could watch the gay content in half an hour and that’s really important to me and really scares me.”

TV writer Russell T Davies at the Edinburgh TV Festival in 2019

TV writer Russell T Davies at the Edinburgh TV Festival in 2019 (Ken Jack/Getty Images)

He noted the troubled development of gay teen series Love, Victor, which was shunted off of Disney Plus late in production in favour of Disney’s less-prominent streaming platform Hulu after an ugly dispute over its content.

Davies said: “It had a series called Love, Victor, which is a television spin-off of the film Love, Simon, which is a gay series. They moved it on to Hulu. They commissioned it and developed it, then they moved it.

“There’s a small sign there of what will happen once this free-for-all becomes great big monoliths, as it will.”

Love, Victor was shunted off Disney Plus after content dispute.

The creators of Love, Victor made little attempt to disguise their unhappiness with the show’s development under Disney Plus, and have spoken positively about plans for a second season that can take full advantage of the greater freedoms of Hulu, which is less tied to the Disney brand.

Speaking on The Hollywood Reporter’s podcast earlier this year, showrunners Issac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger teased “a more complex story” in Love, Victor season two.

Aptaker explained: “Looking forward, what we’re so excited about being on Hulu, is that we want to tell a show that kind of grows up with his audience.

“Now that we’re on Hulu, there’s really no ceiling to the sort of sophistication and maturity and content that we can have on this show. So we’re in the middle of writing season two right now and, it’s just been so exciting to know that we’re able to just be as honest as we want to be telling stories of what it’s like to be a junior in high school.”

Berger agreed: “We lost some jokes that hurt [in season one] but we’re really happy for the timing, because as we move into season two, we have some really serious relationships that are forming between our characters, and they’re at that time in life where you fall in love and you have sex potentially with the person you’re in love with.

“I think there’s just a freedom to tell high school stories authentically that we didn’t necessarily feel we had before.”