“You’re not casting me. This face is mine… is copyright to me. It’s not to be used for masturbation without my expressed permission, and that permission you do not have, Mr. Best. Literally, do not wank using me. It is forbid— and this is turning you on, isn’t it?”
These are the razor-edged words of Freddie Baxter, the 25 year old bisexual dreamboat played by Freddie Fox in his first big TV role. A college dropout working at a cafeteria in Manchester, Freddie owns the serpent’s tongue of Regina George with a body sculpted by some very talented gay gods. He is the Lolita to Cucumber’s Henry Best — that obscure object of desire who, on the dawn of Henry’s midlife crisis, represents the unattainable he cannot help but fawn over. The suspense beleaguering each episode, in fact, revolves around whether the protagonist will be granted one night with the boy: the “one more cock,” as he puts it.
As the show progresses we are let under the layers of Freddie’s tough exterior. We see how his sexually precocious adolescence may have affected his self-worth, we see how a years-long affair with a schoolteacher may have been his first heartbreak, and we see that he maybe isn’t so cruel, after all. He’s a modern man doped up on sex wherever he can find it, but his heart, beneath the ice, isn’t necessarily in the wrong place.
Late in the series there is a show-stopping scene where Cucumber’s three muskaqueers wind up caught in the rain on Manchester’s Canal Street, confessing their sexual imperfections. Freddie, having remained silent the entire time, is asked to rack his brain for any possible shortcoming. “No, nothing,” he finally responds. “You’re perfect aren’t you?” “Could be taller.”