Where are the Queer As Folk cast now? As a US remake arrives on British screens, FEMAIL reveals how the original series was a springboard for VERY successful careers – from Hollywood glory to soap fame

  • It’s been more than two decades since Queer As Folk first hit British TV screens 
  • A reboot is set to launch in the UK on StarzPlay via Amazon Prime Video on July 1 
  • FEMAIL looks at where the original cast members of Channel 4 series are now

It’s been more than two decades since Queer As Folk first hit British TV screens.

But as an American reboot is set to launch in the UK on StarzPlay via Amazon Prime Video on July 1, FEMAIL looks at the where the original cast members of the ground-breaking Channel 4 series are now.

Russell T Davies’ iconic 90s show followed three British gay men living in Manchester’s gay village and originally aired for two seasons spanning 1999-2000. 

The New Orleans-set reboot – which wrapped on March 17 – will feature Sex and The City’s Kim Cattrall, who plays Brenda, the mother of two of the main characters, as well as Grey’s Anatomy alum Devin Way and Locke & Key actor Eric Graise.

In the original series, the cast included Aidan Gillen and Charlie Hunnam, who both went on to enjoy Hollywood success thanks to their roles in Game of Thrones and Sons of Anarchy, respectively.

Meanwhile, Antony Cotton has become a soap favourite after appearing on Coronation Street as Sean Tully since 2003.

AIDAN GILLEN 


Irish actor Aiden Gillen starred as Stuart Jones (left) in the 1999 series. His role in Queer As Folk secured him a BAFTA for Best Ascot and helped launch his career to new heights

Gillen has gone on to star in the BBC’s Birmingham-based drama Peaky Blinders, as well as play the role of Littlefinger in Game of Thrones (pictured)

Irish actor Aiden Gillen starred as Stuart Jones in the 1999 series. His role in Queer As Folk secured him a BAFTA for Best Ascot and helped launch his career to new heights.

He went on to star as Tommy Carcetti in three seasons of acclaimed HBO series The Wire – between 2004 and 2008.

By the time he joined The Wire, the cult show was finally picking up critical acclaim, though he revealed filming was tinged with the sadness of his father’s illness and death.

‘My time in Baltimore, a city I grew to love quickly, and spent a couple of years in, will forever be spliced with my father’s last year,’ he told Independent.ie.

‘Mostly because I was there for a lot of it, walking along the waterfront, learning lines and worrying about him, as much as you can.’

In 2011, Gillen told Den of Geek: ‘It was definitely the show of a lifetime to be in… People have gone on about it so much, but it does live up to its reputation, thankfully.

‘And I loved the part, but I don’t think it’s the role of my lifetime, no. I was part of an ensemble, and happy with that, but I’ve played more involved roles, and expect to in the future.’

Gillen has gone on to star in the BBC’s Birmingham-based drama Peaky Blinders, as well as play the role of Littlefinger in Game of Thrones.

But it’s not only the small screen where he succeeds as he has also played the band Queen’s manager, John Reid, in the film Bohemian Rhapsody.

CHARLIE HUNNAM


Charlie Hunnam played cocky 15-year-old schoolboy Nathan Maloney in the drama Queer As Folk, left

Then, he secured film after film in Hollywood – including Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen (2019) and Pacific Rim (2013), as well as King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (2017) (pictured)

Charlie Hunnam played cocky 15-year-old schoolboy Nathan Maloney in the drama Queer As Folk.

The Newcastle native has since gone on to star as the lead character Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy, a popular drama about motorcycle gangs in America which ran from 2008 for seven series.

He was twice nominated for the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actor for his role.

Then, he secured film after film in Hollywood – including Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen (2019) and Pacific Rim (2013).

In 2014, he opened up about walking away from the role of Christian Grey in the highly anticipated on-screen adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey.

He told Entertainment Weekly: ‘I just kind of made a bit of a rookie mistake in that one in biting off more than I could chew.’

‘It was a little bit annoying and a little bit painful, and I really was just so sad for Sam [Taylor-Johnson], the director, because I absolutely adore her, and I gave her my word and committed to going on this journey with her.’ 

Reflecting on how he got through the media storm after he made his decision, the British-born actor said: ‘It was a very difficult position that I put myself in, and that I put the studio in, because of course, those type of things are like red rag to a bull to a lot of bloggers and reviewers.’ 

In 2017, he revealed that he would love to reprise the Queer As Folk role that first made him a name, telling The Sun: ‘I’d be game for a reunion. It’s a long time ago, I’m an old b****** now — that was 20 years ago.’

The actor was reunited with fellow Queer As Folk co-star Aidan Gillen for Hollywood blockbuster King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword, with whom he shared some of the most concupiscent gay scenes with to be aired on TV at the time.

At the time, 19-year-old Charlie was in awe of then 31-year-old Aidan, and Charlie cited that upon seeing his old co-star again on set of King Arthur, he had to thank him.

‘I always felt like I owed him a grand debt of gratitude. I really thanked him for the impact he had on me. He thought I was mad but I felt it deeply,’ he said. ‘It was the beginning of my career, so I have very fond memories of it.’

CRAIG KELLY


Craig Kelly played the geeky, lovelorn Vince in the Channel 4 series, left. Before landing his role in the series, the Lancashire native had starred in Casualty and also appeared in the Titanic

He then featured in Totally Frank and Hotel Babylon, before appearing in Coronation Street throughout 2009 as Carla Conner’s suspect business partner Luke Strong (pictured right)

Craig Kelly played the geeky, lovelorn Vince in the Channel 4 series.

Before landing his role in the series, the Lancashire native had starred in Casualty and also appeared in the Titanic.

He enjoyed further small screen success after appearing in Queer As Folk for all two seasons.

He featured in Totally Frank and Hotel Babylon, before appearing in Coronation Street throughout 2009 as Carla Conner’s suspect business partner Luke Strong.

More recently, he produced and starred in Trick Or Treat, a gangster film, released in November 2019.

He married his wife Camilla in 2009. The same year, it was announced that he would take part in Series 7 of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The actor – who was partnered with Flavia Cacace – was the 8th celebrity eliminated from the competition.

ANTONY COTTON 


He is now well-known for his role as Sean Tully in Coronation Street (right) – but Antony Cotton got his first big break playing the character Stuart’s loud and proud friend Alexander (left), in Queer As Folk at the age of 24

Following this, he joined the British soap series (pictured) in 2003, appearing in more than 900 episodes

He is now well-known for his role as Sean Tully in Coronation Street – but Antony Cotton got his first big break playing the character Stuart’s loud and proud friend Alexander, in Queer As Folk at the age of 24.

Following this, he joined the British soap series in 2003, appearing in more than 900 episodes.

He has also been a regular fixture on reality TV – including ITV’s Dancing On Ice and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! – and even hosted his own talk show for a series.

Antony regularly hit back at the judging panel during his time on Dancing On Ice in 2018 and often got in live on-air spats with outspoken judge Jason Gardiner.

Talking to the Metro at the time, the soap star revealed the real reason why he was ‘quite grumpy’ during the revamped series of the popular ITV show and it was because he was saving a homeless man’s life.

He admitted that the public ‘didn’t know the f***ing half’ of what he was going through back in January as he shared his time between filming, training and performing.

And on top of his hectic schedule, Antony revealed that he was also busy helping to save a homeless man’s life. 

The soap star revealed he was shocked to find a message from an acquaintance he barely knew on Facebook and that it was ‘pure chance’ he decided to read it, in which he discovered that the person was living on the streets after previously having a home and family.

Antony then secretly decided to meet up with the acquaintance for several months and used Manchester shelter charity Barnabus to help the homeless man.

And in a strange coincidence, not long after, despite keeping his friend’s predicament to himself, Coronation Street bosses told the actor about Sean’s homeless storyline, with the actor only too happy to raise awareness of the serious circumstance.

Talking to the publication about the secret battle he was on-going during his time on Dancing On Ice, he said: ‘I said [to his homeless friend]: “We’ve got three days to sort you out.” I was in the middle of doing Dancing On Ice so I may have appeared quite grumpy on that occasionally. I wanted to say: “You don’t know the half of what I’m f***ing going through right now.”‘

DENISE BLACK


Denise Black played Vince’s free-spirited mother Hazel Tyler in the the Channel 4 series (pictured left). Pictured right, Denise in Coronation Street in 2007

In 2021, she set pulses racing as she took to Instagram to treat her followers to a completely nude mirror selfie (pictured)

Denise Black played Vince’s free-spirited mother Hazel Tyler in the the Channel 4 series.

The British TV veteran has since made regular appearances in much-loved TV shows, including Benidorm, Doctors, Holby City, Midsomer Murders and The Bill.

She is perhaps best known to most as Coronation Street’s Denise Osbourne or Emmerdale’s Joanie Wright.

Denise also reprised her role of Hazel in an unexpected cameo appearance in Russel T Davies’s sort-of sequel to Queer As Folk Cucumber back in 2015.

She also starred in the Soho Theatre’s production of Mum, written by Olivier award-winning playwright Morgan Lloyd Malcolm. 

In 2021, she set pulses racing as she took to Instagram to treat her followers to a completely nude mirror selfie.

For the very peachy shot, the soap star donned nothing but her birthday suit as she showed off her bottom while posing in an art studio.

Facing away from the camera to cover her modesty, the actress exuded confidence as she neatly tucked her short locks behind her ears.

In her accompanying caption, the actress explained that she is ‘proud’ of her body because ‘life is too short’.

She penned: ‘I have decided to post this. I am very proud of my body at 63 – and this after a wasted lifetime of finding fault. Life’s too short (not me, LIFE). Enjoy it all! Even the pain. All of it.’ 

Denise lives in Brighton with vocal coach husband Paul Sand, whom she met while with the Actors Touring Company. 

ANDY DEVINE


Andy Devine played lodger Bernard Thomas in Queer As Folk (pictured left) – but became most well-known for starring as Shadrach Dingle for ten years in Emmerdale

He played Shadrach in Emmerdale (pictured) on and off between 2000 and 2010, until his character was killed off as part of an alcohol abuse storyline

Andy Devine played lodger Bernard Thomas in Queer As Folk – but became most well-known for starring as Shadrach Dingle for ten years in Emmerdale.

He died at the age of 79. He passed away in January 2022, with the cause of death unknown, but the tragic news was only made public in May.

Andy played Shadrach in Emmerdale on and off between 2000 and 2010, until his character was killed off as part of an alcohol abuse storyline. 

His beloved character died in an emotional episode which saw him tragically drown in a stream on the Dales.

He was the husband of Faith Dingle and father of Chas Dingle and Gennie Walker, and was often involved in near-misses in nearly a decade on the soap.

He also appeared in several episodes of Doctor Who story Frontier In Space, playing a Draconian Guard.

Before starting his acting career, he served in the Royal Navy in the 1960s. 

JASON MERRELLS


Jason Merrells played Vince and Stuart’s friend Phil Delaney in the Channel 4 series (left). Pictured right, Jason in 2020

Jason Merrells played Vince and Stuart’s friend Phil Delaney in the Channel 4 series.

Before taking on the part, he already had some TV success after playing Matt Hawley in Casualty from 1994 to 1997.

Following his appearance in Queer As Folk, he went on to appear in a host of popular British series – including Cutting It, Waterlook Road and Lark Rise To Candleford.

He then appeared in Emmerdale for four four years from 2010, playing Declan Macey. In 2016, he featured in Sky One’s Agatha Raisin.

In 2021, he took to Twitter to make it known that he’s angry after failing to land himself any acting gigs that year – and has blamed it on his age.

The soap star admitted he feels like ‘s**t’ and ‘so undignified’ after expecting to bag himself some new work in 2021.

The Casualty actor claimed that his age had slowed down the demand for auditions as he took to his keyboard to complain about his receding career.

‘Staring at phone that won’t ring. Waiting on a job. 25-plus years doing this and it don’t get easier,’ Jason began.

‘I know there are worse jobs, I’ve done some, but being 50 odd and still playing “ooh pick me, pick me!” 4 or 5 times a year, (at least!) is s**t.

‘Anyone who has a way of handling this without veering between violent Tarantino fantasies of taking out whole rooms full of execs, and forensic, eviscerating self-critical doubt – I take my hat off to you.’

ESTHER HALL 


Esther Hall (right in 2011) played one half of a lesbian couple who conceived a baby with the help of their gay best friend Stuart in Queer As Folk (left) 

Esther Hall played one half of a lesbian couple who conceived a baby with the help of their gay best friend Stuart in Queer As Folk.

She is most likely best known for playing Kris Marshall’s wife in several BT adverts from 2005 to 2011.

However, she also enjoyed further TV show success – with roles in Spooks, Waking the Dead, Rome, Black Mirror, Silent Witness and Doctors.

In 2004, Hall also starred in the second episode of the seventh series of Midsomer Murders. 

Showcasing her acting skills for the theatre, in 2014 she appeared as Lady Macbeth in Macbeth at The Mercury Theatre, Colchester. 

In 2017, she played Cindy Watson (editor of The Weatherfield Gazette) in Coronation Street and also played this role in February 2020.

She also starred in rival British BBC soap EastEnders in 2019 playing the role of Dr Elinor Waters.

MARIA DOYLE KENNEDY 


Maria Doyle Kennedy starred as Stuart’s sister Marie in the Channel 4 series, throughout its two season run (pictured left). Pictured right, Marie in 2020

Maria Doyle Kennedy starred as Stuart’s sister Marie in the Channel 4 series, throughout its two season run.

She went on to have plenty of success in both her acting and singing career following her part in the show.

She portrayed Catherine of Aragon in The Tudors, and has had the regular role of Siobhán Sadler in Orphan Black since 2013.

She also starred as Mrs Bates, the evil estranged wife of the much-loved valet Mr Bates in Downton Abbey.

She played a leading role in ITV1’s Titanic, as lawyer’s wife Muriel Batley, bitter and frustrated because her life hasn’t worked out as comfortably as she had hoped, and resentful of the liner’s First Class passengers — particularly the lofty Countess of Manton, with whom she clashed.

And she is also remembered for starring in The Commitments in 1991. In film, she has also played in the likes of Jupiter Ascending, The Conjuring 2 and Sing Street.

The talented actress has also released eight studio albums.

PETER O’BRIEN 

Peter O’Brien, who featured on Australian Neighbours in the ‘80s, worked steadily through the 1990s, adding notches to his belt with roles such as Cameron Roberts in Queer as Folk and Steve Elliot in Halifax f.p

Peter O’Brien, who featured on Australian Neighbours in the ‘80s, worked steadily through the 1990s, adding notches to his belt with roles such as Cameron Roberts in Queer as Folk and Steve Elliot in Halifax f.p.

Another iconic Australian soap opera followed with his role on Water Rats as Matthew Grierson between 1997 and 2001.

Next was White Collar Blue as Det. Joe Hill between 2002 and 2003, before he played DI Peter Cavanaugh on The Bill in 2004.

Roles on Blue Heelers, Casualty, City Homicide and All Saints rounded out his impressive resume.

Peter then took on Hollywood, with a role as John Howlett in action blockbuster X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009.

In more recent years, he has landed gigs in the TV series Tidelands in 2018, The OA in 2019 and Wentworth in 2020.

In 2022, he completed work on the miniseries Darby and Joan and the TV series Grey Nomads.

Peter tied the knot with fellow actor and Lord of the Rings star Miranda Otto in 2003 after meeting during a production of the Ibsen play A Doll’s House.

The pair welcomed daughter Darcey into the world in 2005.

They recently mixed business with family, working together on the series The Unusual Suspects in 2021 with Miranda joking that the pair, ‘don’t do boring married couple stuff’.

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