Olly Alexander as Ritchie in It's A Sin

It’s A Sin: how fans reacted to episode one of Channel 4’s exciting new series

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This is what people are saying about the first episode of Russell T Davies’ new Channel 4 show, It’s A Sin, which aired last night (Friday 22 January).

There’s been a huge buzz around Channel 4’s new five-part series, It’s A Sin. Created by renowned producer and writer Russell T Davies (Queer as Folk, Years And Years), it was always going to be one well worth checking out. And, with all of us being stuck indoors on Friday nights in lockdown, we need some great TV to get excited about. In fact, to mark It’s A Sin’s first airing, Channel 4 even brought back its iconic logo from the 80s (the decade that the show is set in).

The first episode introduced us to Ritchie (Olly Alexander), a young gay man who moves to vibrant, fun London and befriends Jill (Lydia West), Roscoe (Omari Douglas), Ash (Nathaniel Curtis) and Colin (Callum ScottHowells). However, as the group of friends tries to build their bright futures, they are unaware of the impending AIDS crisis…

Stylist contributor Colin Crummy described It’s A Sin as “landmark television you’ll never forget”. The Guardian called it a “masterpiece” and awarded it five stars. And The Independent praised it for being “a reminder to find joy in the scariest times”. 

But what was the verdict from the biggest critics of all – the viewers at home? Here’s the reaction on Twitter:

Drag queen and music producer Jodie Harsh said this is a pivotal point for LGBTQ+  storytelling on our screens, tweeting: “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.”

Comedian Jane Godley shared her family’s experience, saying: “My brother Jim and his [girlfriend] diagnosed HIV in 80s – such stigma surrounding the virus and limited services were so stretched, they had addictions and I will NEVER FORGET how the LGBTQ rainbow flag community embraced them and looked after him whilst they faced their own prejudices.

“They showed him such compassion and those hastily formed support groups were just coping with HIV in the gay community never mind the intravenous users that turned to them, I will never forget Phase West and Waverley care.”

Singer Beverley Knight reminded us why it’s important to continue the national conversation around AIDS, sharing a thread from Terrence Higgins Trust and writing: “The all-consuming fear, the wicked judgements pronounced on sufferers around the world, the stigma, the indifference to the deaths until AIDS spread beyond the gay communities. We have made enormous progress but we still have a way to go.”

Comedian James Barr tweeted: “I watched Queer As Folk in my bedroom at my mum’s house with the sound off when I was 15 and here I am on my sofa ready for Russell T Davies new show It’s A Sin with my boyfriend. Past James would be proud.”

Pointing out that, along with such important messages, there was also lots of warm, cheeky humour, and a brilliant 80s playlist throughout the series, presenter Graham Norton said: “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.”

And praising the cast for being truly amazing, this fan wrote: “That first episode was pure perfection from start to finish. This cast [is] just insane with Lydia West, Olly Alexander and Callum Scott Howells really standing out! This is TV at its all-time best.”

We couldn’t think of a better or more accurate note to finish on.

All five episodes of It’s A Sin are now available to watch on All 4, or you can catch them on Fridays at 9 pm on Channel 4.

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Images: Channel 4

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…