It’s hard to believe that Queer as Folk is nearing 20 years since first broadcast. But it’s true. The show first aired in 1999 and starred Aidan Gillen, Charlie Hunnam and Craig Kelly – Three gay men living in Manchester’s gay village around Canal Street.

Fun fact: The title of the programme comes from a dialect expression from some parts of Northern England, “there’s nowt so queer as folk”, meaning “there’s nothing as strange as people”; which is a word play on the modern-day English synonym of “queer”, meaning homosexual.

Since the show concluded in February 2000, there have been endless repeats keeping the Manchester favourites very much in the forefront of people’s minds – there’s even talk of it returning for a where are they now special to mark the 20th anniversary.

But for now, let’s delve in to each character and see what the actor who played them is up to now.

Antony Cotton – Alexander


Cotton has made himself a household name with soap fans after joining Coronation Street as Sean Tully in 2003.

Queer as Folk saw the actor make his breakthrough, playing flamboyant friend Alexander. Since his role in Queer as Folk the Manchester lad has become a mainstay in Coronation Street as well as appearing on a number of celebrity-special TV shows.

Denise Black – Hazel


Denise performed as Hazel in Queer as Folk – the mother of main character Vince.

Since her role on the show, the popular actress has appeared in a variety of different productions, from Benidorm to The Bill.

Denise teamed up with Queer as Folk producer Russell T Davies in 2015 to cameo her character in the drama Cucumber. She played a ghost named Hazel on Manchester’s Canal Street.

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