Corrie’s Julie Hesmondhalgh to star in Russell T Davies drama

Cast announced for new Russell T Davies drama as filming begins

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Former Coronation Street actress Julie Hesmondhalgh is to star in Russell T Davies new 8-part Channel 4 drama ‘Cucumber’ and it’s E4 companion ‘Banana’.

Joining Hesmondhalgh – who is best known for playing Weatherfields Hayley Cropper – is, Vincent Franklin (The Thick of It, Twenty Twelve), Cyril Nri (The Bill), Freddie Fox (Parade’s End), Fisayo Akinade (Fresh Meat), Con O’Neill (Uncle), James Murray (Primeval) and Ceallach Spellman (Waterloo Road).

Written by multi BAFTA award-winning writer of Queer As Folk and Doctor Who, Russell T Davies, the series will explore the passions and pitfalls of 21st century gay life.

Life for 46-year-old Henry (Vincent Franklin) and his boyfriend Lance (Cyril Nri) is comfortable and settled. But after the most disastrous date night in history – involving a threesome, two police cars, and Boney M – Henry’s old life shatters, and his new life begins.

While Lance gets to know the mysterious Daniel (James Murray), Henry soon finds himself with unexpected companions. 24-year-old Freddie (Freddie Fox) and 19-year-old Dean (Fisayo Akinade) have only been passing strangers, until now. But when they all find themselves under the same roof, they need to work out; are they friends or enemies? Can men from such different generations ever get on?

Henry’s sister Cleo (Julie Hesmondhalgh) is busy, professional, and a little chaotic. But coping with her three kids is easy compared to helping her brother. And as Henry’s life heads in extraordinary new directions, helped by his nephew Adam (Ceallach Spellman), it becomes clear that Cleo’s hiding one or two secrets of her own…

Banana will follow the individual lives of characters orbiting around Henry’s world on E4. Tofu on 4OD will be an anarchic and entertaining factual series about sex – from gay to straight, and anything in between – inspired by the dramas each week.

Cucumber was originally developed by BBC Worldwide Productions and will be made by RED Production Company with Executive Producers Nicola Shindler, Julie Gardner and Russell T Davies. Matt Stevens will produce, with directors; David Evans, Alice Troughton and Euros Lyn. Tofu will be made by Benjamin Cook (Becoming YouTube).

Filming has begun on Cucumber in Manchester for broadcast on Channel 4 in 2015. E4 series Banana to start production next month.