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Russell T Davies will leave Margaret Thatcher out of new AIDS drama

Nick Duffy January 20, 2016
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Queer as Folk director Russell T Davies has said his new TV drama about the AIDS crisis won’t focus on the government’s poor handling of the issue.

The outbreak of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s claimed the lives of thousands of people across the UK, amid a wider global epidemic.

Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has been criticised even by her own former ministers for her handling of the crisis, and failure to tackle the issue early on.

Last year, newly-unsealed documents revealed that Thatcher tried to block all mention of anal sex in government advice adverts – claiming it could harm “public morals”.

Russell T Davies, the writer behind popular gay-themed shows including Queer as Folk and Cucumber, spoke about his upcoming series The Boys – which will be set during the AIDS crisis.

He told the Guardian: “My instinct is not to because that’s more fittingly done as documentary.

“Imagine a doc about Thatcher and [former health secretary] Norman Fowler’s attitudes to AIDS.

“If I made them characters, it would get skewed. I’d be worrying who’d play Thatcher.

“I’m not on this Earth to defend Margaret Thatcher, but they were out of their depth. ”

He added: “[But] they didn’t know anything and if they didn’t know anything, they should have done more to find out. That’s what governments should do.”

“Their ads were terrifying and, in terms of gay sex, demonising. But they were powerful – not many ad campaigns are remembered 30 years on.”

Russell T Davies will leave Margaret Thatcher out of new AIDS drama

He added: “I want to tell stories about people I knew who died. They were told you’re going to die – and die because of sex. It’s was like homophobes’ wish fulfilment.

“I didn’t go to their funerals. Didn’t say anything when they were said to have died of cancer when they really died of AIDS.

“Didn’t get in touch with their mums. I did some charity stuff but I didn’t do enough. I wish I could have been more militant, but that’s not me.”

More: AIDS, Gay, LGBT, russell t davies, Sexuality

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