It’s A Sin: HBO and Channel 4 have shared a first look at Russell T Davies’ AIDS drama.

It’s A Sin: everything you need to know about Russell T Davies’ must-watch drama

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It’s A Sin (formerly called Boys) looks set to be one of the biggest TV shows of 2021. Here’s why.

Updated on 7 January 2021: From Doctor Who to Years And Years, Russell T Davies’ name has long been synonymous with excellent TV.

Now, the acclaimed screenwriter and producer has joined forces with HBO and Channel 4 – as well as an all star cast (think Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry, and Olly Alexander) – to bring us an incredibly important story about the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. 

Here’s what you need to know about It’s A Sin, which is due to hit our screens on 22 January,

What is It’s A Sin about?

The series will examine the lives of a group of young gay men who are hit by the outbreak of a new deadly virus, HIV, after they move to London during the 1980s.

“I lived through those times, and it’s taken me decades to build up to this,” Davies tells Variety

“And as time marches on, there’s a danger the story will be forgotten. So it’s an honor to write this for the ones we lost, and the ones who survived.”

In a statement, Channel 4 adds: “Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin are young lads, strangers at first, leaving home at 18 and heading off to London in 1981 with hope and ambition and joy… and walking straight into a plague that most of the world ignores.

“Year by year, episode by episode, their lives change, as the mystery of a new virus starts as a rumour, then a threat, then a terror, and then something that binds them together in the fight.”

Olly Alexander to star in It;'s A Sin
It’s A Sin: Olly Alexander of Years And Years is set to take the lead in Russel T Davies’ emotional new drama.

“It’s the story of their friends, lovers and families too, especially Jill, the girl who loves them and helps them, and galvanises them in the battles to come,” continues Channel 4. 

“Together they will endure the horror of the epidemic, the pain of rejection and the prejudices that gay men faced throughout the decade.”

Who stars in the cast of It’s A Sin?

As reported on 14 December 2020: Olly Alexander – as in, yes, the Years & Years singer – shines in the show as Ritchie, 

“I feel like the luckiest boy in the world to be a part of this project,” he said of the role, as per The Sun.

“I’ve been a fan of Russell T Davies ever since I watched Queer As Folk in secret at 14 years old.

“His work helped shape my identity as a gay person so I’m absolutely over the moon we’ll be working together.

“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.”

Omari Douglas will star as Roscoe, and Callum Scott Howells completes the trio as Colin.

Elsewhere, Keeley Hawes (oh she of Bodyguard and Line Of Duty fame) will play Ritchie’s mum, Valerie, while Shaun Dooley will play his dad Clive.

And the phenomenally talented Lydia West, who you probably know and love already from Dracula and Years And Years, plays Jill Baxter, aka the “straight-talking, funny, and the rock” upon whom our trio rely.

If that isn’t enough starpower for you, It’s A Sin also boasts the acting talents of Neil Patrick Harris, Tracy Ann Oberman, Shaun Dooley, Nathaniel Curtis, and actual Stephen Fry.


Is there a trailer for It’s A Sin?

Channel 4 has yet to release a full trailer for It’s A Sin, but they have released a first-look teaser.

Sharing the footage on his Instagram page, Davies offered up a brief synopsis of his drama, writing: “1981. Five 18-year-olds leave home and move into a London flat. 

“The decade unfolds, as they explore their hopes and dreams… but with a terrible new virus on the rise.”

Check it out:

What are people saying about It’s A Sin?

Only good things!

Lewis Corner, who interviewed Davis and the cast of the show for the Gay Times, tweeted: “When I say I cried, I BAWLED. It’s A Sin is a remarkable piece of television.”

Elsewhere, Davies fans have flocked to heap praise upon the show’s premise.

“Great hook, Russell,” commented one beneath the trailer on Instagram. 

“Can’t wait to be led back to that joyful, explosive, terrible era by you.”

Another added ruefully: “Cannot wait! (But guess I’ll have too).”

And still one more, referencing Doctor Who, said: “Preparing for the umpteenth RTD project to destroy me… bring it on ALLONS-Y!”

How many episodes of It’s A Sin will there be?

The series will be comprised of five episodes.

When is It’s A Sin on TV?

It’s A Sin will arrive on 22 January via Channel 4.

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Images: BBC

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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