So you may have seen the adverts for Channel 4’s trio of dramas on the LGBT community in Manchester written by Russell T Davies – they were everywhere a few weeks ago. Just from the sheer hype alone, my flatmate and I decided to watch the central drama, Cucumber. To begin with we weren’t sure, finding the protagonist, Henry, slightly irritating in the first episode and the plot line more than a bit ridiculous. We decided to persevere though and I am so glad that I did. It is a roller coaster of emotions – one minute I am laughing until my cheeks are aching and then, last week, the worst happened. From the moment the episode started, you knew that it was not going to go well. Lance, Henry’s ex boyfriend has the date of his death appear on the screen and it is 2015. For the whole episode I was on complete tenterhooks and the episode cleverly ran through his life, his relationship with his family and their eventual acceptance of his coming out – I was completely and utterly invested in his story.
Lance had developed an attraction to a heterosexual man at work, Daniel – well he would claim that he was heterosexual. In reality, it is clear that he is confused about his sexuality and wants to experiment with men but feels very conflicted about this. We have witnessed Daniel’s internal conflict for a couple of episodes, until last week when it all came to a head (pardon the pun). One minute Lance and Daniel were getting intimate, and the next bang – Daniel gets increasingly agitated and violent and I was scared to watch Lance and what I could only guess what was going to unfold. Daniel hits Lance around the head with a golf club with such force that I actually gasped.
Lance’s life literally flashes before his and your eyes and I found myself sobbing watching it. My description of the episode really does not do it justice. I wanted to write about it because it evoked so many emotions, was so shocking and was portrayed so brilliantly that I was compelled to write a post.
I hadn’t seen drama that gripping or well executed, particularly on Channel 4, for a very long time. Having watched the penultimate episode last night, where we see Lance’s funeral – the episode was altogether more upbeat and I was, unusually for the subject matter, laughing out loud again.
I would like to think that more people watched episode six of Cucumber – and from the execution, would love to see it being rewarded. The last episode is being aired next Thursday and I for one will be watching.