Queer As Folk: Where are the original cast now?

Charlie Hunnam in Queer as Folk, and at a festival in 2024
Charlie Hunnam, left, in Queer As Folk, and right, in 2024 (Images: Channel 4/Super Festivals from Ft. Lauderdale, USA)

It’s been 25 years years since Queer As Folk burst onto British television screens in a Middle England-baiting whirlwind of drugs, sex, and the bright lights of Canal Street – and it remains one of the world’s best-loved gay TV shows.

Chronicling the lives of three gay men living in Manchester’s gay village at the turn of the millennium, Russell T Davies’ groundbreaking drama series drew critical acclaim – not to mention a great deal of controversy – for its frank, funny and fearless depiction of LGBTQ life.

Following a short-lived US reboot in 2022, Attitude got thinking about exactly where the show’s beloved stars are now.

We’ve done some digging to find out exactly what happened to the cast after the series’ short-but-sweet 10-episode run came to an end in 2000. So without further ado, here’s the old QAF gang as they are now…

Aidan Gillen in Queer As Folk (Image: Channel 4)
Aidan Gillen in Queer As Folk (Image: Channel 4)

Aidan Gillen (Stuart Alan Jones)

Aiden Gillen was already an established TV and film actor by the time Queer As Folk premiered in 1999, but his role as magnetic, manipulative man-hunter Stuart scored him a TV BAFTA for Best Actor and helped propel his career to new heights.

He went on to appear as Tommy Carcetti in three seasons of acclaimed HBO series The Wire between 2004 and 2008, and is probably now most widely-recognised for his role as Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish in that little-known fantasy show, Game of Thrones.

Craig Kelly in Queer As Folk (Image: Channel 4)
Craig Kelly in Queer As Folk (Image: Channel 4)

Craig Kelly (Vince Tyler)

Craig Kelly’s geeky, love-lorn Vince was the beating heart of Queer As Folk.

A former Casualty star with appearances in Titanic and Attitude favourite Spice World to his name before landing the role, post-QAF Kelly enjoyed further TV success in series including Totally Frank and Hotel Babylon, before appearing in Coronation Street throughout 2009 as Carla Conner’s dodgy business partner Luke Strong.

He most recently produced and starred in Trick or Treat, a gangster Brit flick, released in November 2019.

Charlie Hunnam in Queer As Folk (Image: Channel 4)
Charlie Hunnam in Queer As Folk (Image: Channel 4)

Charlie Hunnam (Nathan Maloney)

A man who probably needs no introduction: after making his name as Queer As Folk‘s wide-eyed-yet-troublesome schoolboy Nathan Maloney, Charlie Hunnam has gone on to forge a career as one of Hollywood’s most in-demand leading men.

Following a gritty transition starring as Jackson “Jax” Teller in eight seasons of motorcycle gang drama Sons of Anarchy, the 41-year-old has appeared in blockbusters including Pacific RimThe Lost City of Z and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

He even turned down the opportunity to star as Christian Grey in the 50 Shades movie – a role eventually taken by Jamie Dornan.

Denise Black in Coronation Street (Image: ITV)
Denise Black in Coronation Street (Image: ITV)

Denise Black (Hazel Tyler)

After appearing as Vince’s free-spirited mum Hazel in QAF, British TV veteran Denise Black has continued to make regular appearances in pretty much every popular drama series you can think of, including BenidormDoctorsHolby CityMidsomer MurdersDoc MartinRobin HoodDalziel and Pascoe, and The Bill.

Known to many as Coronations Street‘s Denise Osbourne and Emmerdale‘s Joanie Wright, she’s also starred in most British theatre than you can shake a stick at.

Denise notably reprised the character of Hazel for an unexpected (and heartbreaking) cameo appearance in Russell T Davies’s next-generation LGBT series Cucumber back in 2015.

Antony Cotton (right) with Denise in Queer As Folk (Image: Channel 4)
Antony Cotton (right) with Denise in Queer As Folk (Image: Channel 4)

Antony Cotton (Alexander Perry)

Now one of the most recognisable gay actors on British television, a then 24-year-old Antony Cotton got his big break playing Vince and Stu’s loud and proud friend Alexander.

As well as appearing in over 900 episodes of Coronation Streets as barman Sean Tullysince 2003, Antony won Attitude’s TV Personality of the Year at the Attitude Awards 2015 and took part in Dancing on Ice.

Jason Merrells in Emmerdale (IMage: ITV)
Jason Merrells in Emmerdale (Image: ITV)

Jason Merrells (Phil Delaney)

Before taking on the role of Vince and Stu’s ill-fated friend Phil in QAF, Jason Merrells had tasted prime-time TV fame playing Matt Hawley in Casualty from 1994 to 1997.

After *that* tragic hook-up in episode four of QAF’s first series, Jason carved out a career as one of British TV’s most dependable drama faces, starring in Cutting ItWaterloo Road, and Lark Rise to Candleford, before taking on the role of Declan Macey in ITV’s Emmerdale for four years from 2010-14.

In 2016, he appeared in Sky One’s Agatha Raisin.

Carla Henry in Queer As Folk (Image: Channel 4)
Carla Henry in Queer As Folk (Image: Channel 4)

Carla Henry (Donna Clark)

Carle Henry is probably still best-known for her role as Nathan’s supportive, no-nonsense school chum Donna.

She went on to make appearances in 2002 film Revengers Tragedy and 2004’s satirical TV film I’m A Juvenile Delinquent – Jail Me! before turning her attention to theatre – although she’s since cropped up in TV dramas including the BBC’s short-lived Frankie and opposite Sheridan Smith in 2015’s crime-drama series Black Work.

So there you have it, folks.

Oh, and if this trip down memory lane has got you craving a return to Babylon, both series of Queers As Folk are available to watch free on All 4 now.

This article was originally published on Attitude.co.uk on 22 July 2017.

The post Queer As Folk: Where are the original cast now? appeared first on Attitude.