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PinkNews Awards

Russell T Davies launches damning attack on Trump and Boris Johnson in epic, inspiring and tear-jerking speech

Josh Milton October 17, 2019
Russell T Davies accepted the award for Lifetime Achievement at the PinkNews Awards 2019. (Paul Grace)

Russell T Davies accepted the award for Lifetime Achievement at the PinkNews Awards 2019. (Paul Grace)

Russell T Davies, the polymath mind behind trailblazing shows such as Doctor Who and Queer as Folk, in no way held back when he delivered and epic and sweary speech at the PinkNews Awards.

He took to the stage at Church House – headquarters of the Church of England – in London after being awarded the PinkNews Award for Lifetime Achievement.

In a constellation of clinking champagne glasses and attendees ranging from Labour party’s Diane Abbott to Blue’s Duncan James, the TV legend tore into US president Donald Trump and UK prime minister Boris Johnson.

Davies slammed the lawmakers, whose administrators have been widely condemned by LGBT+ and human rights activists.

But between energised expletives, the Welsh screenwriter, 56, reflected on how much has changed since he first made Queer as Folk in 1999. Encouraging his audience and viewers to defend love and remember how “lucky” they are to be part of the queer community.

It was a speech that ended in a rapturous standing ovation from the crowd in what became a highlight of the glitzy seventh annual PinkNews Awards, sponsored by Amazon.

You can read Russel T Davies’ full NSFW acceptance speech here:

“Lifetime achievement award at 56, not bad, eh?,” Russel T Davies began.

“Queer as Folk is 20 years old! We had complaints everywhere.

Russell T Davies addresses the star-studded crowd at the seventh annual PinkNews Awards. (Paul Grace)
Russell T Davies addresses the star-studded crowd at the seventh annual PinkNews Awards. (Paul Grace)

“We had complaints from straight people. We had complaints form gay people. But do you know who we had complaints from? Folk dancers.

“‘Dear sir, Don’t associate my hobby with rimming and paedophilia.’ Frankly, it’s a fine line between that and the tarantella. Not that much of difference!

“I was so lucky, It was an honour to write that show. I moved to Manchester in 1987 – I wrote that in 1988 – and in those 11 years I spent, not getting off my head religiously, but I spent it watching those clubs.

“I used to stand at the railing club called Cruz 101 – it’s still there! – and watch people and there was something so special and privileged and unique to watch people on a Friday or Saturday night.

“It was a more positive world, and that’s true today.

“But then, even closeted people would save all week if they were unemployed, they would save their pennies.

“Or if they were worked in shops or worked in a pharmacy or they were substitute teachers or, or they were just living with mum or dad or living in their bed-sits.

“Saving and spending going out the guy those gin and tonics and those dance floors.

The original Queer as Folk cast.
Queer as Folk ran for two seasons, the first episode airing on February 23, 1999. (Channel 4)

“The light is on the dance floor. It’s full of smoke, and it was full of cigarette smoke.

“You used to stand there and watch those people watch the ins-and-outs, the coming-and-going, the relationships, all sorts of people.

“The young and the old. The old guys in the back. The old girls with back the couples, the kids, the teenagers started coming, the queers, the others, the drag queens people didn’t have labels back then people don’t have labels now.

“All of them on those dance floors enjoying themselves.

“I loved it. I fell in love with us.

“I fell in love also with my husband. I was very lucky to meet him and, when he passed away last year, it was the most wonderful 20 years of my life being with him.

“But he always knew that there was a greater amount so that there was another love story going on.

“Because someone once said that all stories are love stories.

“I’m literally standing there in those clubs watching us in all our millions of shapes and forms was a lucky and enchanting experience and a privileged experience and it’s been my life’s work to try and capture some of that, and to pin it on screen, it is a love story.

Doctor Who star John Barrowman (C) presented Russell T Davies with the award. (Paul Grace)
Doctor Who star John Barrowman (C) presented Russell T Davies with the award. (Paul Grace)

“I think love stories need defending, love needs defending against hate.

“While we are here in Westminster, I have to say, in the past few years, if you’d asked me to make a speech about Queer as Folk five years ago, I think it would have been: ‘Good, great, equality. We’re doing well. Nice, neat, sorted, getting there.’

“We’ve begun to slide. We’ve begun to sink. We’ve begun to suffer.

“When you see Andrew Moffat standing there and making that speech about how much he suffered in a school. It’s extraordinary. And this is a world they are allowing.

“As we know, in the West, it used to be the land of the free. We used to be a Golden Empire that we all wanted to go and visit, is now an empire of bile, hypocrisy and white bigotry run by a great big, gargantuan, orange Space Hopper.

“And frankly, like some sort of continental echo, we’ve spawned our own blond bastard here.

“And to sit here tonight while he lectures us with his dirty lapel. You might have gathered I’m never going to vote Conservative.

Andrew Moffat accepted the Role Model award
Andrew Moffat accepted the Role Model award (Paul Grace)

“There are good conservative ministers – people like Nick Gibb the schools minister. It’s supposed to be a good party. It’s supposed to stand for honour and hard work and self responsibility – it’s the party of our mums and dads for god’s sake.

“It is supposed to be a force for good. What the f**k is happening to them?

“It was said by PinkNews that when Amber Rudd left the cabinet that meant more than 50% of the cabinet were against gay marriage. That’s the world we’re living in now. It stinks.

“And we must do everything to fight it.

(Paul Grace)

“Enough of the anger, enough of the bile. Going forward, how to fight this? How do we fight for ourselves?

“And I think I think one word is wearing thin.

“I love all of our new labels; LGBTQQIA. Gay used to have the power – oh, it means happy doesn’t it? – that’s why I am suggesting we go forward with another word from from tonight onwards.

“And I was thinking, ‘What word could we use?’. But how about instead of using the word ‘gay’, let’s just call ourselves ‘lucky’.

“‘Mum, dad. I’ve got something to tell you. I’m lucky.’

“Think of the bullies in school, ‘Oh, Davis, you’re fucking lucky you are.’ ‘Yes, I am!’

“If you’re bisexual, you’re going, ‘Sometimes I’m a bit lucky, sometimes I’m a bit unlucky’, which just sums up life!

“And all those bastards that want a Straight Pride in their cities get to have Unlucky Pride!”

More: Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, PinkNews Awards, russell t davies

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