It’s A Discourse: Our favourite responses to It’s A Sin

As It’s A Sin hits American screens this week, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite articles about the powerful drama series.

February is LGBT+ History Month in the UK and one facet of queer history has exploded into the mainstream conversation this year thanks to a landmark television series, and I’m not just talking about RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. If you’ve been anywhere near the internet over the last few weeks, you’ve probably noticed a lot of ~discourse~ around It’s A Sin, the smash-hit Channel 4 drama portraying the impact of the AIDS crisis on one friendship group in London. An unforgettably powerful piece of storytelling, it has triggered a collective exhale for many in the queer community and their allies, allowing previously untold stories to come rushing out, and creating an unprecedented moment of reflection for those of us who did not experience it first hand. 

It’s crossing the pond this week and landing on HBO Max so our American friends will soon be getting to know Ritchie, Jill, Roscoe, Colin and Ash just like we did. In honour of this, I have collated some of my favourite articles, interviews, opinion pieces and reviews right here for your perusing pleasure. There are many, many more – if your favourites didn’t make the cut send them my way – I could literally read about this show forever.

Russell T Davies: ‘I’m more proud of It’s A Sin than anything else – it’s a privilege’ – Radio Times

You’ve probably already read this one, but it’s the big interview where RTD discusses everything about It’s A Sin as well as his thoughts on “gay actors for gay roles”.


I’m honoured to be a part of It’s A Sin – both as actor and inspiration for Jill – Metro

This is a moving first person account by actress and longtime friend of Russell T Davies, Jill Nalder, who inspired the character of Jill.


I contracted HIV at 16 but after starring in It’s A Sin I know I am one of the lucky ones – i news

Nathaniel Hall, who plays Donald Bassett, reflects on the show and its impact on him and the wider conversation about HIV in the queer community.


I would be horrified if I saw a straight actor in a gay role in It’s A Sin – Metro

Adam Miller explores why it was so crucial for gay actors to tell this particular story.


Uncovering the black experience during the AIDS crisis after It’s a Sin – gal-dem

Mishti Ali talks to Black elders about their memories of life during the height of the AIDS crisis.


An interview with Stephen Fry, who plays Arthur Garrison MP – Channel 4

There are interesting interviews with the whole cast in the press pack from Channel 4, but this one with Stephen Fry features many of his gorgeous turns of phrase: luxuriate in his words as he explains his own experiences during the crisis and why he feels it is such an important story to tell.


Why Mainstream AIDS Drama It’s A Sin Is Right To Provoke Tears Of Rage – The Quietus

Luke Turner remembers growing up gay under the shadow of AIDS and explores how the government and wider society were complicit in the crisis.


The Unique Catharsis of ‘It’s a Sin’ – Vice [includes significant spoilers]

This is a searing, powerful review by Patrick Strudwick which captures the heart of why It’s A Sin is so important. It’s also a wonderful piece of writing and I can’t resist letting it speak for itself: “[It’s A Sin] demands so much more of us than to mourn the dead, or to reach the mere first rung of the ladder and empathise. It makes us stand back and think about the sanctity of human life; and about the type of society needed to protect not just “us”, but everyone.”


Demonised, criminalised and shamed — life as a gay man in the 80s – Evening Standard

In this beautiful, emotional piece, Paul Flynn tells some of the many stories that It’s A Sin brought to mind of his experiences as a young gay man in the late 80s and early 90s.


It’s A Sin is beautiful, but it neglects the women who also died of Aids – i news

Juno Roche explores the untold stories of women who died of AIDS and suggests that the show could have done better by them in small but significant ways.


It’s a Sin’s Jill is almost a modern mammy… almost – gal-dem

Kemi Alemoru looks at the character of Jill and asks whether perhaps she deserved to be given a deeper, more nuanced story arc than she gets.


I learned more about LGBTQ+ lives from It’s A Sin than I did in my 13 years of education – Metro [includes significant spoilers]

Michael Chakraverty of Bake Off fame reflects on what he learned from It’s A Sin.


The Curate’s Sin? – BiFurious [includes significant spoilers]

This scene-by-scene deep dive from the team at BiFurious brings a unique perspective through their lived experiences of the time as a bi+ person. It examines the (lack of) bi representation in the show and offers an interesting contemporary take on the historical and social accuracies – if you ever found yourself wondering “did that really happen?” this piece probably has the answer!


The Heartbreaking Layers Of Meaning Behind The Suits In ‘It’s A Sin’ – Vogue

Who is Dursley McLinden? How It’s A Sin pays tribute to the Doctor Who actor – Radio Times

Finally these two pieces, which are both quite spoilery, give the kind of delightfully nerdy behind-the-scenes details that demonstrate the incredible levels of care and attention all the creatives involved poured into their labour of love.

It’s A Sin is streaming now on All 4 in the UK and Stan in Australia, and HBO Max in the United States from 18 February.

Author: Jodie Manning

Hello! My pronouns are she/her and I am an enthusiastic opinion-haver, mostly-amateur writer, once-published poet, and the person who makes 99% of the Taylor Swift references on The Phase. You can find me not on Twitter at @JodieKate and occasionally writing on Medium and jodiekate.com.

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