Bob & Rose

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Bob & Rose
DVD cover of Bob & Rose
Genre Romantic Comedy-Drama
Created by Russell T Davies
Starring Lesley Sharp
Alan Davies
Jessica Stevenson
Katy Cavanagh
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 6
Producer(s) Red Production Company
Running time 45 minutes (per episode)
Original channel ITV (UK)
Picture format 16:9
Original release 10 September 2001 –
15 October 2001

Bob & Rose is a British television drama, originally screened in six one-hour episodes on the ITV network in the UK in Autumn 2001. It was produced by the independent Red Production Company, and was that company's first prime-time drama for the ITV network.

Bob & Rose was the inspiration for Jules & Mimi, the fictional British television show featured in Sex and the City.[1]


The series was written by Russell T Davies,[2] who had previously been responsible for the much-discussed Channel 4 drama Queer as Folk, another Red Production Company programme.

Bob was played by stand-up comedian and actor Alan Davies (no relation to writer Russell), who was at the time best known for his lead role in the BBC television mystery series Jonathan Creek. Rose was played by actress Lesley Sharp, who was nominated for the BAFTA and Royal Television Society Best Actress awards for the part. Although critically well-received, Bob & Rose was not a huge success in terms of audience share for ITV, and the final two episodes were relegated from prime-time to later night slots.


The story follows the life of gay school teacher Bob who is fed up with the shallowness of the gay club scene in Manchester. A romantic at heart, Bob yearns to meet the right person and settle down. After yet another unsuccessful date, he meets Rose while they are both waiting for a taxi cab. Rose is disenchanted with her down-to-earth boyfriend and is smitten with Bob but she does not initially realise he is gay. Subsequent episodes chart their on-off love affair which is bedeviled by the activities of Bob's best friend Holly. Holly (Jessica Stevenson) is secretly in love with Bob and does everything she can to quietly interfere with Bob's relationships with men because she does not want to lose him. Privately she is lonely and her only social life is through Bob and the gay clubs he visits. When Rose suddenly appears on the scene Holly sees her as a threat, stalks her and may (or may not - the plot leaves the final matter in doubt) conspire with Bob's former boyfriend Carl to split Bob and Rose up. A situation is created which suggests Bob may have had a one-night stand with Carl and Holly deliberately preys on Rose's insecurities and creates further doubts. Eventually she outright lies to Rose.

The story also follows the attempts of Rose's mother to find a reliable boyfriend, and Bob's campaigning mother who runs a fictional gay support group called "Parents Against Homophobia" (PAH!). The series is a gentle romantic comedy with each episode managing to end at an emotional or comic climax - as when Bob follows Rose down the street after they argue in a pub. He admits that their first heterosexual sex act has confused him but he wants to do it again. Equally confused, Rose turns towards the camera and unromantically says: "Oh bollocks!" and the credits roll.

The script takes some shrewd looks at emotions and motivations but also contrasts the different atmosphere and attitudes within gay and straight UK night clubs - as in the scene where a straight man cannot get into a straight club wearing trainers but the gay men can enter their club wearing skimpy satin sports clothes. One important scene which explains Bob's disenchantment with the gay clubs comes when he is approached by an attractive man who talks only about physical acts. Bob, desperate to be regarded as an individual replies: "I'm a Capricorn".

The series has an up-beat ending which manages to resolve issues for all the main characters - even Holly eventually learns from her mistakes and blossoms into a person in her own right. Bob and Rose find happiness and Carl gets an angelic dream date.


Episode one[edit]

The first episode introduces the two characters. Bob is a secondary school English teacher by day and by night he goes to the gay clubs on Canal Street, Manchester, and has casual encounters. Rose is an office supervisor stuck with a laddish boyfriend (Andy) who she no longer finds interesting. She still lives with her mother and her mum's new boyfriend since moving in with Andy horrifies Rose. On a night out, Rose finds herself dumped on the wrong side of town by a creepy taxi driver while Bob discovers his latest male date is cheating on a live-in boyfriend and Bob walks out of the date's home.

They find themselves on the same street, both trying to hail passing cabs. They strike up a conversation over an illicit cigarette (Rose has quit). After they go their separate ways Rose uses the Internet to look up Bob's address. Thanks to Rose they meet again outside his house by "coincidence". Later, over dinner, Bob has to take his outer shirt off after the waitress spills a dirty plate on it. This reveals a gay-themed T-shirt and Rose reacts. Later she spends the night in Bob's bed on a drunken sleep-over until she notices he is aroused and she leaves in a taxi. Confused about his own emotions Bob immediately calls her again offering to take Rose to another restaurant. She agrees and the credits roll.

Episode two[edit]

Bob takes Rose to a Canal Street club to meet some of his gay friends, some of whom he has slept with. This makes Rose slightly jealous. When the evening ends she visits her boyfriend on his night shift and gives him a food parcel and chats with him, possibly out of guilt for deceiving him.

Rose's mother suspects there is another man on the scene and sees her plans to get her daughter settled down and out of the house in jeopardy.

She quickly motivates Andy to clean up and redecorate his place to make it (and him) a more appealing prospect. As soon as Rose visits she is unimpressed; sensing the hand of her mother behind everything she quickly gets angry. Rose asks Bob to take her away and they get the train to Blackpool. Kissing on the train the tension boils over and they make love in the train bathroom. Afterwards Bob doesn't know how to handle the situation and when Rose offers to get off the train and write the trip off as a bad idea he agrees. Meanwhile Bob's friend Holly (who clearly loves him) is curious about Rose and learning she works in admin for a big car repair facility smashes her own windscreen just to get a look at her "rival".

Bob goes to visit his middle aged parents who are involved in local gay rights activities and are unimpressed with Bob's casual attitude towards their efforts. His mother chides his lack of fighting spirit by labelling him gay-esque or gay-lite.

Rose has given in to the pressure and agreed to move in with Andy despite her misgivings. As she arrives at his flat, Andy comes down to greet her but she drives off very quickly and meets Bob. At a pub she ask to move in to his spare room since she can't go home or to her boyfriend's. He makes some weak excuses and she throws a drink in his face. They argue outside the pub until Bob admits he wants her.


As with Queer as Folk, Bob & Rose involved homosexuality as a key theme. The storyline involves a gay man falling in love with a woman and was loosely based on events in the real life of a friend of Russell Davies. This storyline caused an uproar among some gay rights activists who felt that the series premise made it appear as if being gay was a choice or a phase,[3] which then generated a strong counter-reaction by bisexuals who called the criticism unfair.[citation needed] However, the 'Bob' character states categorically in the script that he is not bisexual saying: "I was born gay, I'll die gay and I'll have a gay gravestone". He says that he was attracted to Rose as a person and not as a gender choice. He says he will 'always look at men' but Rose is the only woman for him.


Character Actor/Actress
Rose Cooper Lesley Sharp
Robert Gossage Alan Davies
Holly Vance Jessica Stevenson
Anita Kendrick Katy Cavanagh
Marina Marquess Siobhan Finneran
Andy Lewis Daniel Ryan
Monica Gossage Penelope Wilton


Ep. Title Airdate
1 Episode 1 10 September 2001
2 Episode 2 17 September 2001
3 Episode 3 24 September 2001
4 Episode 4 1 October 2001
5 Episode 5 8 October 2001
6 Episode 6 15 October 2001

DVD release[edit]

The entire series of six episodes was released on DVD on 15 April 2002 in the UK and on 17 February 2004 in the USA. The age certificate for the DVD in the UK is 15.


  1. ^,,462815,00.html
  2. ^ Davies, Russell T, "A Rose by any other name", 2 September 2001
  3. ^ Newcomb, Horace, Encyclopedia of Television, CRC Press, 2004

External links[edit]