It's a Sin creator Russell T Davies has revealed that the subject of the Channel 4 and HBO Max drama is so powerful and wide-ranging that he could have written 100 episodes about it rather than the five the series has ended up with.
The show introduces us to three friends who move to London in 1981 at the age of 18 and follows their lives across the decade, with the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 80s playing a key role in the story. Each member of the group – all young gay men – has a different attitude to the virus and each is affected in different ways as both the illness and prejudice spread.
Davies, who has created series including Queer as Folk, Years and Years and Torchwood, told Digital Spy and other press during a Q&A session that the story "bears telling again and again and again", explaining that it is important to keep recognising the huge impact that AIDS has had on individuals and society.
"So many stories, I could have written 100 episodes about this," he said. "It's simply a powerful story.
"The world happens to have caught up with us, in terms of viruses. That's a very strange thing... It's strange listening to radio and hear people talk about 'the one great virus in their lifetime' (COVID-19) – no, two, there's been two."
Davies, who also executive-produced Doctor Who between 2005 and 2010, added that the distance between the 1980s and now has given him the opportunity to consolidate his perspective on the time and "face it properly" in his writing.
"I sort of grew up and learnt enough tricks, learnt how to write a bit, to come and face it properly," he said. "But I'd be interested to know what I'd write about it in 20 years time. I think our perspective, all of ours, gay men, as a society, our perspective of what happened in those years is always changing, hopefully is always broadening and deepening."
It's a Sin stars Years & Years singer Olly Alexander and newcomers Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells as the trio of friends, while Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris, Keeley Hawes, Tracy Ann Oberman and Shaun Dooley co-star.
Davies recently spoke about how important it was for him to cast gay actors as gay characters for the series, saying that "it's about authenticity".
"I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story ... they are not there to 'act gay' because 'acting gay' is a bunch of codes for a performance," he said.
It's A Sin will premiere on Friday, January 22 at 9pm on Channel 4.
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