It’s a Sin reactions: Critics hail ‘poignant masterpiece’ as Graham Norton calls series ‘the best five hours of TV I’ve seen in years’

Olly Alexander in It’s a Sin (Channel 4)
Olly Alexander in It’s a Sin (Channel 4)

Russell T Davies’s new Channel 4 drama It’s a Sin has received an overwhelmingly positive reception from fans and critics, who are hailing it as a “poignant masterpiece”.

Starring Years & Years frontman and actor Olly Alexander, Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells, the series follows three young gay men who move to London just as the Aids crisis is about to unfold, in 1981.

The five-part miniseries follows on from Davies’ other shows exploring gay culture, including Queer as Folk and his Cucumber/Banana/Tofu trilogy. However, The Independent’s TV critic Ed Cumming observed in his four-star review that “It’s a Sin feels especially personal”.

“Despite its subject, It’s a Sin hums along, never lingering for long on its downbeats. The opening episode is a happy vision of the consolations of sex and friendship, as well as an evocative recreation of a time and place.

“For anyone who’s been through the agony of coming out, especially to a hostile family, or who lost loved ones to Aids, I expect it will be moving,” he wrote.

The Guardian’s review observed that the series takes on “a special resonance” during the pandemic: “We can empathise that bit more with the fear, uncertainty and responses rational and irrational to the emergence of a new disease… We can also identify with endless, mindless joys coming to a painful halt, the jostling within oneself of reason and unreason – and perhaps in episodes to come, the wrestling with woefully inadequate and incompetent government responses to a proliferating crisis.”

On Twitter, TV host and author Graham Norton wrote: “The best five hours of television I’ve seen in years. Your heart will be broken, warmed and lifted. Cast amazing. Soundtrack epic but most of all it’s about the genius and compassion of @russelldavies63.”

DJ and producer Jodie Harsh tweeted: “Between Pose, Veneno, Drag Race and It’s A Sin, we are living in the golden age of LGBTQ+ television. Important, exquisite, world-changing TV.”

Writer and comedian David Baddiel said: “There are indeed, as people are rushing to say on here, many things to like about It's A Sin, but what I thought was particularly good was the speed and economy with which Russell T Davies sets up an ensemble. 20 minutes in you already feel you know all these people intimately.”

It’s a Sin is available on All4 now.

Davies recently spoke about his ideas for Doctor Who, revealing he one day wants to introduce a Marvel-style shared universe to the sci-fi franchise.

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