There’s been some snarky reporting of viewing figures for Cucumber, the new Channel 4/Russell T Davies drama about a group of gay men in Manchester, but as always some caution is needed.
A lot of outlets still rush to report the overnight viewing figures despite broadcasters and advertisers paying more attention to the consolidated, seven day figure which includes those who watch the show within a week of first broadcast.
This is important because it’s this data that BARB considers to be the “Gold Standard” and which most accurately reflects how growing numbers of viewers watch at a time that suits them rather than ‘live’.
Yet when those who watched within seven days are counted, the final figure was a more impressive 1.9m million – an increase of up to 1m on the figures reported the morning after broadcast.
That made the debut episodes one of Channel 4’s top ten of the week, and its highest rated drama.
As I recently said about the all-female Ghostbusters, audiences other than straight, white men, are entitled to top-class shows and films written for and about them that ring true and celebrate their lives.
For the second time in his career, Davies has created a quality, original drama which successfully reflects and celebrates the lives of contemporary gay men like no show other on TV.
And, with a team of talented writers, uses E4’s Banana to show that sexuality is far more nuanced than gay/straight and love a lot more complex than countless rom-coms would have us believe.
Ultimately what matters isn’t whether the audience is 2 or two million, but that audiences have the choice of watching a pair of shows written about them and those they love.