The Number One Gay Drama TV Writer & Producer is back with his best work yet ‘It’s A Sin’. The 1980’s set story of young men living through the AIDS crisis and it is very explicit, side-splittingly funny, very sad and poignant (as well as massively timely with the current pandemic)…and it is drawing rave reviews from every critic out there making it the one must see drama of the Year. Russell T Davis is the brains behind it following on from his landmark trailblazing gay and gay friendly blockbusters like Queer As Folk, Cucumber, Year And Years plus of course Torchwood and Doctor Who. He knows how to make gay issues palatable, entertaining and of interest for all tastes and he has excelled himself with ‘It’s A Sin’ which seems like the culmination of his career and by far the most personal. It’s realistic portrayal of gay life has struck chords with many according to Thousands of social media posts about life in the 80’s closet, coming out, the creeping spectre of the HIV crisis and gay partying 1981 style with a music soundtrack that will no doubt sell Millions.
Russell T Davis was born in Wales 57 years ago which of course means that he was a 16yo gay teenager when AIDS first hit the headlines and his sexual discovery and most hedonistic days were right in the eye of that terrifying storm and nothing works better in entertainment than when you have a screenwriter/producer who lived through what us Gays of a certain age experienced first-hand and can tell the stories in a professional, respected and entertaining manner. He cut his teeth with UK children’s TV and in September 1997, Davies had an existential crisis after almost dying from an accidental overdose; the experience persuaded him to detoxify and make a name for himself by producing a series which celebrated his homosexuality which is when he hit big and became interesting to a gay audience. A few months later he started writing Queer As Folk which has become as landmark a gay series as there possibly is about 3 young queer friends in Manchester and their lives in and around the infamous party district which is known as ‘Canal Street’. The series which ran for 2 series and then got remade in a just as successful 5 series American version based on young gay men in Pittsburgh along the way producing 4 top selling Hi-NRG CD’s all called ‘Queer As Folk’. Besides Davis himself it launched the careers of Game Of Thrones megastar Aidan Gillen and Hollywood movie star and fit as fuck Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim/Cold Mountain/Children Of Men & Crimson Peak) both of which you can see getting down to it in the famous graphic rimming scene – the first ever shown in a prime time hit show.
QAF also had many guest stars including Christopher Eccleston (Thor: The Dark World/28 Days Later & GI Joe) who Davis decided to then cast in his next project the ultimate fan favourite of all time Doctor Who which he revived to massive success. This enabled him to do an off-shoot ‘Torchwood’ which features John Barrowman as the star as a fully out gay man in a highly visible gay relationship in a very big spectacular sci-fi serial where his sexuality was not a negative issue at all. On through other gay series like Cucumber, Banana, Tofu and Years and Years leading up to the current masterpiece ‘It’s A Sin’. He told Empire magazine ‘It’s my body of work. I have covered gay 90’s life in Queer as Folk and then Cucumber was 2000’s, Torchwood the present day, Years and Years the future and i went back to the 60’s gay experience with ‘A Very British Scandal’ so now i am doing the very important 80’s gay experience because of AIDS and which was the most personal era for me. Let me tell you if you were a young man like me in the 80’s, AIDS didn’t exist yet. It did exist for a very small group of forward-looking people in London and New York but on my level if you were sitting in a gay pub aged 21 it genuinely did not exist. Which is why i wrote a big scene in Episode 2 where the main character Ritchie (played by rock star & gay icon Olly Alexander from the Number One band ‘Years And years’) who denies the existence of HIV because I have never seen that dramatized. It just sounds like an impossible thing “A gay plague” !.
Davis continues ‘ It’s a story about spunk and sweat and blood it’s about a virus that is transmitted via fluids so i was thinking right from the beginning you have to become visceral with it. People ask “Why tell this story now?” Well, I do feel the memory of AIDS and homophobia is fading and I feel the need to show what happened. How a lot of the families of the Gay men could not accept that their sons died of AIDS. I could show you families that are still burning with anger from what happened to their sons and they are still in denial about it. It’s very sad’
It’s A Sin (named after a massive Pet Shop Boys Number One from 86) is very explicit and in the First 30 seconds you will see flashes of Two very large cocks even before the opening song from Orchestral Manoeuvres In The dark has reached its opening bars. One early fan favourite is what has already become known as the infamous ‘Hooked on Classics’ scene. HOC was a huge hit in 1981 and was basically a ‘Stars on 45’ type medley of classical music hits to a dance beat and here it is played over Olly Alexanders characters sexual awakening & graphic education in gay sex from a virgin 18yo who has no idea he has to douche through, kissing another guy, sucking off the next lad, fucking another then on to a highly erotic three-way….basically in 2 minutes underlying the education into the great World of bum sex we all went through at some point when we first discovered cock, hairy chests and musty pits.
The series features many superstar guests such as Neil Patrick Harris, Keeley Hawes & Stephen Fry is 5 One-hour episodes long and is sensational. For those that remember that era many scenes will take you right back with happy, sad and funny memories and recollections and for a younger audience it will blow your mind what Gay men actually went through back then in a scary, informative and entertaining manner. You think you know what life was like when the AIDS shadow and storm clouds totally engulfed the entire gay World and endorsed a lot of homophobic views, hate and opinions in its wake but you really don’t know unless you were there and now you can see first-hand for yourself. There is so much more than it just being the disease that took Freddy Mercury, Rock Hudson, Anthony Perkins and Liberace as it scarred a generation of Gay men who lived and lost through it and of course 40 years on we have prevention & maintenance but still no cure. A wonderful piece of work and an important entry into what we at AT always think is vital to remember where we as Gay men came from, our trailblazers, landmarks, anniversaries and those that fought for our greatly improved rights today. We stand on the shoulders of giants and many mourned much loved gay partners horribly sacrificed to HIV and this is 5 hours that will educate you and hopefully change you more than anything else this year. Three words ‘DO NOT MISS’. It’s A Sin was produced by Channel 4 and is available on a huge number of streaming services Worldwide.