Many people switched off after the first episode of the flagship show of the trio. Davies' comedic tone and brutal honesty about the stereotypical promiscuity of gay men led to many in the LGBT Community feeling misrepresented, with the emphasis on sex over sexual orientation. There's no doubt that Henry was a frustrating character, whose flighty but half-lived sexual urges dominated everything he did, but this characterisation is what drove the show. Henry was always meant to be a flawed - and sometimes deplorable - character, whose actions turn the lives of those he loves upside down. However, explore beyond his gaze and Manchester's Gay Community is depicted here with rich diversity, celebrative honesty and a life that extends far beyond the limits of Canal Street. Of course the now notorious street had its moments to scene-steal (it would be hard to forget Denise Black's cameo return as Hazel from QAF), but as the drama unfolded on the streets of the Northern Quarter, Didsbury and Castlefield, it depicted a community assimilated, accepted and proudly diverse. Henry was never meant to represent the entire LGBT Community - but unfortunately I think a lot of people expected him to, and were widely disappointed by this damaged and awkward man.
In the final words of the final episode, Henry finally admitted to Freddie that despite coming out decades before and having multiple long-term relationships with men, he had never fully come to terms with his sexuality. Through eight episodes we had witnessed Henry's undecipherable actions, seesawing between lust and neurosis like a schizophrenic housewife, but in that moment it finally became clear that Cucumber had never been a drama celebrating the glories of sexuality, but instead an examination of the problems it can cause, even now in a post-marriage equality Britain. Because the histories LGBT people carry with them go far beyond the here and now, with wounds that go back to much harder times. As such, Cucumber went far beyond QAF, examining the very nature of our relationship to sexuality.
Appropriately, Tofu talked us through the normalities and oddities of scores of people, from all backgrounds, ages and sexualities. Focused on displaying sex in all its glory, we heard stories and anecdotes, boasting, admissions of embarrassment and the most intimate of secrets. For a while I wondered why this 4OD companion show existed, when the show itself wasn't explicitly about sex, but once it became clear that the nature of these programmes was to show how sexuality interplays with the rest of life, its intention became finally clear.
In the final episodes of Cucumber, the casts of Banana had fleeting moments returning to the frame, some of whom Henry knew, some of whom he didn't. And while the show's soap opera sexploits alienated some with its frequent pandering to cringeworthy stereotypes, its absolute triumph was the diversity and fullness it created over eight short weeks. I nearly didn't persevere after its first two (I found Henry's dogged pursuit of Freddie often uncomfortable viewing), but I'm certainly glad I did now. Because Cucumber wasn't there to represent the whole LGBT community - that was Banana's function - and with the two running side by side, they resplendently brought to life the community in which I live, while examining the bare fabric of sexuality.