Gay Aliens and Queer Folk

How Russell T Davies Changed TV

Author(s) Emily Garside

Language: English

Genre(s): Gender Studies, Media, Film and Theatre

  • September 2023 · 256 pages ·216x135mm

  • · Hardback - 9781915279224
  • · eBook - epub - 9781915279248
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781915279255

About The Book

The television writing of Russell T Davies defies easy categorisation, ranging from children’s programmes, across Shakespeare, historical drama and comedy, to the landmark series that have made him a household name: Queer As Folk, Doctor Who and It’s a Sin.

Gay Aliens and Queer Folk takes a deep dive into the queer narratives Russell T Davies has brought to our screens, exploring how each work created new space for LGBTQ+ stories to enter our living rooms and looking at their impact on the people who saw themselves reflected on mainstream television, often for the first time.

Covering Russell T Davies’ career from his earliest work to his highly anticipated return to the TARDIS for Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary, and highlighting key themes such as politics, sex, AIDS and the role of Wales in his writing, Emily Garside reveals how Davies broke down barriers, showing gay characters unapologetically living their lives to the full and celebrating the complexity and joy of queer identities.


‘A marvellous love letter to the many brilliant TV works of Russell T Davies, this book is smartly entertaining, always accessible, and unafraid to reflect on evolving cultural norms. Embracing the subversive and the difficult alongside the glorious and the groundbreaking, Emily Garside is your thought-provoking guide to an array of topics — the asexual Doctor in Doctor Who, nerds, politics, TV drama of its time and ahead of its time, Welshness, sex, even Margaret Thatcher as the ultimate unseen villain. Yes, it’s all in here. And just as fabulously queer as you’d imagine, faithful reader.’

Professor Matt Hills, author of Triumph of a Time Lord and Doctor Who: The Unfolding Event

‘Fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable. This book vocalised the exact feeling you get from seeing yourself in Russell T Davies’s characters and writing, giving a full perspective of his genius. I didn't realise how much I needed this book in my life!’

Ella Willis, illustrator and content creator

‘A thoughtful, loving look at Davies’s landscape-altering career. Garside brings a sharp critical eye to this appraisal, but it’s her impassioned understanding of how queer depiction works as both a personal tool for self-acceptance and a public tool for social change that makes this an empowering, joyful read.’

Cody Daigle-Orians, creator of Ace Dad Advice


Chapter OneCanal Street to the TARDIS: Career overview
Chapter TwoCan you show that on TV? Queer as Folk
Chapter ThreeGay aliens? Doctor Who
Chapter FourDoctor Who for grown-ups: Torchwood
Chapter FiveOther queer stories: Bob & Rose and Cucumber
Chapter SixQueering history at the BBC: A Very English Scandal
Chapter SevenThe future is a scary place: Years and Years
CodaQueer characters
Chapter EightKnow your history: It’s a Sin
ConclusionDavies and the legacy of queer TV
A Personal Reflection: ‘Paul McGann, allons-y’
EpilogueBack to the TARDIS

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Emily Garside

Emily Garside is a writer and professional nerd, based in Cardiff. She has a PhD in theatrical responses to the AIDS crisis and is a leading expert on LGBTQ+ theatre. Emily regularly writes for journals such as The Queer Review, American Theatre, and Wales Art Review, and she is also the author of Love That Journey For Me: The Queer Revolution of Schitt’s Creek.

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