7 Things You Probably Don’t Know About ‘It’s A Sin’

It's A Sin is receiving well-deserved raving reviews.


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If you haven’t watched It’s A Sin yet, you’ve more than likely saw the outburst of it on Twitter, Instagram, basically everywhere. And if you have sat down to watch it, you’ll know exactly why it’s become the talk of the internet.

I binged my way through the five 45 minute episodes yesterday evening, and I still feel emotionally drained. By the time the end rolled around, I was ugly crying in a ball and I already know it’s one of those shows that will stay with me for years.

If you haven’t watched it (put this on your weekend to-do list, right now), it’s set in London in the 1980s and follows the lives of five friends over the course of ten years, at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.

It was almost a factual series

It’s A Sin writer Russell T Davies has confirmed that the show is a work of fiction, explaining that a documentary-style drama was “just not me.” He shared that the first episode, in particular, took a long time to write because he “had to make a very big choice as to whether to make this very factual”.

That would have included the Princess Diana moment

If they had gone ahead and gone down the factual route, Davies explained that they would have included that important moment where Princess Diana held a man’s hand while visiting an Aids ward. “It’s no small event that, and actually, then you think, ‘Oh gosh, you’ve got to get an actor to play princess Diana’ and it starts to become about that,” he said.

“It starts to become about the clothes and hair and that’s actually all we’d be talking about right now. I can guarantee you, all we’d be doing is talking about that Princess Diana actor, so I’m glad I made that decision in the end.”


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Some characters are inspired by real people

While the characters aren’t entirely based on real people, they’re certainly inspired by them. A fan favourite in the show, Jill, especially, was inspired by Jill Nalder. A friend of Davies who volunteered tirelessly throughout the 80s to help as much as she could with the Aids epidemic.

Jill Nalder appeared in the series

And not to leave it there, but the real-life Jill Nalder appeared in the show as character Jill’s mother. Speaking on the Graham Norton Radio Show, Lydia West, who played Jill explained, “[Davies] sent me a message saying, ‘This is very loosely based about my life and friends’ lives, and so much so that I have a character called Jill who was a close friend of mine, and she is in the show too and she’s playing your mother. But I don’t want you to do anything differently, or analyse her or try and mimic her in any way.’

“Then I met her at the read-through and she was just everything that I hoped she would be. She’s absolutely gorgeous and stunning. It was very emotional. I couldn’t look at her throughout the read, I was looking down.”

Jill also proved to be the cast’s favourite

Of course, the fact that Jill was based on such an inspirational person, it’s easy to fall in love with her instantly. Also speaking on the Graham Norton Radio Show, Olly Alexander (who played the character Richie) explained, “It really was lovely, we were all so in awe of her because we’d read the script already. We loved Jill so much, and to meet the person she was based on, and ask her what it was like in the ’80s. I remember saying to her, how did you have all the time?

“She cared so much, she was constantly caring for her friends, and really dedicated her life to doing that. But that was just natural for her, there was never any question she was going to do that for her friends. That was amazing to hear.”


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Olly Alexander is probably already in your Spotify playlist

Many of you may have already copped this, but if Olly Alexander’s character Richie was vaguely familiar to you, it could be because of Years and Years. The successful three-piece is responsible for absolute bangers such as If You’re Over Me, King, and many more.  Although, he’s previously dabbled in the world of acting since 2008.

Plans for the show started in 2015

Davies’ plans to write the series reportedly started back in 2015, when he decided that he wanted to depict life in 1980s London, based on his and his own friend’s experiences with Aids and to pay homage to those who sadly lost their lives to the illness.

If you fancy it, you can catch each episode as it airs on Channel 4 every Friday at 9 pm, or alternatively, you can stream all 5 episodes now on 4od.


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