Russell T Davies wants his new series It’s a Sin, set amid the AIDS epidemic of the ’80s, to serve as a belated eulogy for the countless gay men who were lost to the terrifying disease.
Channel 4 recently dropped the first trailer for It’s a Sin, a gritty drama that perfectly captures the fear and paranoia of the AIDS crisis.
The five-part series from the creator of Queer as Folk and Banana tells the story of three gay friends who move to London as the brutal epidemic unfolds.
“I think it’s the missing that’s important,” he told Vogue, recalling how his young cast expressed shock at how many AIDS victims simply “disappeared” in the eyes of society.
“I think that’s what I’m always trying to capture. It’s like, my husband died two years ago and I miss him. There’s still part of me trying to capture that in what I write.”
Despite the bleak setting, with It’s a Sin bearing witness to the intense homophobia that characterised the era, Davies describes the show as a “laugh filled with sexy bodies” – a homage to the LGBT+ club scene that liberated so many after the trials of the ’70s.
The show is scheduled for release next year on Channel 4 with a sizeable ensemble cast that includes Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Fry, Omari Douglas, Callum Scott Howells, Tracy Ann Oberman, Shaun Dooley and Lydia West.
It’s headed by Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander, who plays the role of Ritchie, a hopeful young actor from the Isle of Wight who moves to the capital to get his big break.
“I think for lots of people, the AIDS crisis is a murky shadow that sits somewhere in our past,” Alexander said, reflecting on the AIDS pandemic’s influence on his generation.
“But the impact of it is so huge, and obviously it continues now.”
Alexander said it was a “privilege” to work alongside Davies in It’s a Sin. “[His] work helped shape my identity as a gay person so I’m absolutely over the moon we’ll be working together,” he said, per Digital Spy.
“The script was amazing to read, I laughed and I cried a lot. It’s a privilege to be helping to tell this story and I’m so excited.”