It’s 11am on a drizzly Thursday morning and Freddie Fox is talking about fleshjacks. They’re one of many new discoveries that he made while filming Cucumber, the brilliant new Channel 4 drama based on the lives (and sex lives) of a group of gay men living in Manchester, written by Russell T Davies (the creator of Queer As Folk).
‘Whenever Russell thought that we wouldn’t understand something in the script, he included a web link so we could look it up. My hard drive is probably filthy now!’ jokes Freddie. ‘I had to look at chastity belts for men and all sorts of fetishes which I wasn’t aware of.’ Oh, and for the record, a fleshjack is a kind of men’s pleasure aid. Google it. Or better yet, don’t google it.
Freddie, 25, is refreshingly forthright in discussing the filming of sex scenes, which most actors either insist are just another part of the job or complain are incredibly awkward and not at all like real life. Conversely, the sex scenes in Cucumber were, he says, ‘bizarrely sexy to film. Russell made us feel like we were all in it together, and we just clicked.’
Does coming from an acting dynasty (he’s the son of Edward Fox and brother of Emilia) make it less embarrassing when his family watch his racier work? He doesn’t sound convinced. ‘Obviously, being actors, they know you just do what’s required in the script,’ he says. ‘But parents are parents and there’s still part of me that wouldn’t want to sit my father down so he can see me get done by a 40-year-old man! I’m proud of the show, and I want them to see it, but I might fast-forward through certain bits.’
The only topic out of bounds is Freddie’s rumoured relationship with Cressida Bonas,which has been denied by her camp and is dismissed by him with a firm, ‘we’re not going to go there’. He’s done a number of gay roles – including ’80s singer Marilyn in the Boy George biopic, *Lord Alfred Douglas in The Judas Kiss *opposite Rupert Everett and Jeff Cole in Pride – but it was filming Cucumber that made him reflect on the fluidity of sexuality.
‘I don’t think you necessarily fall in love with a sexuality, I think you fall in love with a person,’ he explains. ‘It’s a position that I’ve always had, but it’s something that I’ve become surer of as a result of doing the show.’ While he’s only dated women so far, Freddie adds, ‘It would be silly for me to say I’ll only ever love women. That would be crazy.’
‘Cucumber’ airs on Thursdays at 9pm on Channel 4; companion drama ‘Banana’ is on E4, while ‘Tofu’ is available on 4OD
***Read the full interview in the new issue of Grazia, on sale now ***