Olly Alexander is proud to have brought ‘a lesson in anal hygiene’ to the British public

Patrick Kelleher
·2-min read

It’s a Sin star Olly Alexander joked he is proud to have brought “a lesson in anal hygiene” to the British public.

The Years & Years frontman plays Ritchie Tozer in the AIDS drama, which shattered queer hearts when it debuted on Channel 4 in January.

The series has also won praise from LGBT+ audiences for its frank exploration of gay sex – and one scene in particular proved close to the bone for plenty of queer men.

In the scene, Alexander’s character Ritchie is told by his lover Ash (Nathaniel Curtis) that he needs “a good wash” after a rimming incident goes wrong.

Reflecting on the painful relatability of the scene, Alexander told GQ: “If I can bring anything to the British public, it’s a lesson in anal hygiene.”

He continued: “I can tell you I’ll never forget being practically butt-naked with my arse in the air in front of colleagues.”

It’s a Sin star Olly Alexander was anxious about filming gay sex scenes.

The actor went on to praise intimacy co-ordinator Ita O’Brien, describing her as a “lifesaver”. He initially had a “hysterical breakdown” at the thoughts of filming the incredibly revealing sex scenes, and was intimidated thinking about how exposed he would be.

O’Brien encouraged him to bring his stage presence from Years & Years gigs to the set, which helped him work through his anxiety.

“So I would sing before the takes, be a little bit of Olly on stage,” he said. “That was my way of tricking my brain and thinking it was a character. Which, of course, it was.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Alexander opened up about his “irrational anxiety” that gay men will tear him down.

“A lot of it has to do with internalised phobias and shame, about how I see myself versus how other people see me,” he said.

“What I do know is that I want them to not hate me. And I want to make the community proud. It’s been at the heart of pretty much every decision I’ve ever made. And I don’t know if I’ve always got it right.”