GAY TIMES

It’s A Sin

When it comes to LGBTQ+ inclusion and representation in mainstream television shows here in the UK, not many people get close to what Russell T Davies has achieved. During a career that has spanned nearly 35 years in the industry, the writer and executive producer has challenged taboos around gay sex, dismantled damaging stereotypes, and embedded authentic queer experiences into his shows. Queer As Folk, Bob and Rose, Cucumber, Banana, A Very English Scandal and Years and Years are just a number of his dramas that put LGBTQ+ people at the centre of the storytelling. Not to mention that in his role of reimagining Doctor Who for a new generation – as well as creating its gritier spin-off Torchwood - he introduced LGBTQ+ characters into one of the world’s most beloved family franchises.

It’s why we’re recognising Russell T Davies with the GAY TIMES Honour for Outstanding Impact this year, paying tribute to his impeccable character-driven storytelling that, for decades, has truly helped change wider society’s attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people. And he’s about to push that conversation even further with his highly-anticipated new Channel 4 drama, It’s A Sin.

Starring a perfectly-cast group of young actors including Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander (as Ritchie), Omari Douglas (as Roscoe), Lydia West (as Jill), Nathaniel Curtis (as Ash) and Callum Scott Howells (as Colin), the story follows a group of friends who begin a new life in London in the 80s only to find themselves growing up in the shadow of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. With further appearances from Neil Patrick Harris, Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry, Tracy Ann Oberman, and Shaun Dooley, the drama is a British tour de force that tells the long-overlooked story of what happened to the victims of the virus on this side of the Atlantic. It’s a remarkable piece of television packed with honesty, humour, love and tragedy that showcases Russell T Davies’ emotive screenwriting at its absolute finest.

Here we speak with Russell and the five core cast members, Olly, Omari, Lydia, Nathaniel and Callum about their characters in the show, paying homage to the people of this era, and what they hope the audience takes away from a drama that has been 25 years in the making.

I want to start by asking you Russell: how long have you waited to tell this story?

Russell: I was talking to a friend the other day and I remembered the exact meeting in 1995 when I first started talking about this. I was talking about my friend Jill - my real friend Jill who had been on an AIDS ward that weekend -

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