It’s A Sin: The LGBT+ shows to watch when you finish the Channel 4’s series

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It's A Sin S1 (Channel 4)
It's A Sin S1 (Channel 4)

It’s A Sin is currently airing weekly on Channel 4 but thanks to the fact every episode is on All4, plenty of fans (including us) have already finished the whole series.

Set in late 1980s London, Russell T Davies devastating, yet often hilarious and heartwarming, drama follows a group of young people whose worlds are turned upside by the AIDs crisis.

The groundbreaking show has been hailed as a triumph by critics with Davies winning well-deserved praise for shining a spotlight on a tragic yet often overlooked part of British history.

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If you’ve finished It’s A Sin and are on the lookout for a new drama to get stuck into, then consider starting LGBT+ history month (this February) by diving into another programme with LGBT+ stories at its centre.

From light-hearted comedies to hard-hitting dramas that will leave you in floods of tears, here are our top picks....

Pose (BBC iPlayer)

POSE -- "Pink Slip" -- Season 1, Episode 7 (JoJo Whilden/FX/BBC)
POSE -- "Pink Slip" -- Season 1, Episode 7 (JoJo Whilden/FX/BBC)

An obvious place to start, Ryan Murphy’s Golden Globes-nominated drama is set in late-1980s New York and explores drag ball culture.

NYC is mentioned often in It’s A Sin and Colin even visits the city for a work trip – before which his friends offer stern warnings not to hook up with anyone, terrified he could catch HIV. In Pose, numerous characters suffer this fate and activism, memorials and protests become a sizeable component of the series.

Pose’s cast broke the record for the most number of trans actors in regular roles and Billy Porter, who plays the balls’ emcee Pray Tell, made history by becoming the first openly gay black man to win an Emmy in the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category.

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Cucumber / Banana / Tofu (All4)

Another Russell T Davies’ project, these three interlinked shows aired on Channel 4, E4 and online, respectively. Cucumber and Banana are both dramas exploring “the passions and pitfalls of 21st gay life” with the former following 46-year-old Henry, played by The Thick Of It’s Vincent Franklin.

In a review that could easily also be about It’s A Sin, the Guardian wrote at the time: “The ease with which Davies leads you from misery to joy [...] is masterful.

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“How he packs in the delayed stages of grief with so much other plot, character and narrative resolution is hard to grasp.”

Aimed at a young audience, Banana consisted of six standalone LGBT+ stories – one of which features a pre-Blank Panther Letitia Wright. Finally, YouTuber-fronted Tofu is a light-hearted documentary exploring modern sex.

Feel Good (All4 or Netflix)

Feel Good (Channel 4)
Feel Good (Channel 4)

Having first aired just last year, Mae Martin’s stand-out comedy is one of the newest shows of the bunch.

The six-episode series follows Mae (a fictionalised version of the comedian) as she embarks on a new relationship with George. Martin has said the show is “loosely” based on her own life with the lead character borrowing her behaviour from a version of her that existed “about 10 years ago”.

While the inaugural series was a Channel 4 production, Netflix have commissioned and filmed a follow-up which is expected to air later this year.

Queer As Folk (All4)

Charlie Hunnam, Aidan Gillen and Craig Kelly in Queer As Folk (Channel 4)
Charlie Hunnam, Aidan Gillen and Craig Kelly in Queer As Folk (Channel 4)

It’s fair to say that – until now – Queer as Folk was Russell T Davies’ best-known creation. The 1999 series, Britain’s first gay drama, chronicled the lives of three gay men living in Manchester and earned a Bafta nomination for its lead star, Aidan Gillen.

Upon its release, Queer As Folk, was criticised by the gay press for not not exploring the AIDS pandemic. While promoting It’s A Sin, Davies explained his reason for previously avoiding the topic, writing in a piece for the Guardian: “By that stage, in 1999, I refused to let our lives be defined by disease. So I excluded it on purpose. The omission of Aids was a statement in itself, and it was the right thing to do.”

Special

Special is based on the memoir I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves by Ryan Connell, who also wrote, produced and starred in the Netflix series. Across eight episodes, it explores his life as a gay man who has cerebral palsy. Ryan (the fictional one) decides it’s time he shook things up and rewrites his identity in order to finally chase his dreams.

Love, Victor (Disney+, from February 23)

A sequel to the film Love, Simon, this series follows Victor as he returns to Creekwood High School and embarks on his own journey of self-discovery.

While it’s been available to watch in the US since the middle of last year, fans here in the UK have been forced to wait a little longer. Thankfully later this month, all 10 episodes will finally arrive on Disney+ as part of its Star collection.

Euphoria (Now TV)

'Euphoria'. (Credit: Sky)
'Euphoria'. (Credit: Sky)

Teen drama Euphoria follows a group of high school students as they begin to grapple with things such as addiction, sex and trauma while exploring their own identities, sexualities and desires.

While critics have argued the Sam Levinson-led show includes a little too much sex and nudity, reviews for the first season were overwhelming positive and Zendaya (who plays Rue Bennett, a teen struggling with addiction) made history by becoming the youngest winner of the Lead Actress in a Drama award last year.

Euphoria has been praised for its portrayal of queer identity with Gay Times labelling it “one of the most groundbreaking LGBTQ shows on television”.

“Each LGBTQ character has their own battles to fight, and their sexuality or gender identity is always shown as secondary to their plight: never the cause of it,” reads their review.

Watch: Russell T Davies speaks about his new show 'It's A Sin'

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