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When is It’s a Sin on TV: how to watch Russell T Davies’ new drama, plot, cast and trailer details

Hilary Mitchell January 6, 2021
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The Sun responds to backlash over clumsy take on It's a Sin sex scenes

Olly Alexander in Channel 4's It's a Sin. (Channel 4)

Long-awaited new LGBT+ drama It’s a Sin will be hitting TV screens on 22 January 2021. The new Channel 4 and HBO Max series from Queer as Folk and Cucumber creator Russell T Davies takes us back to the 1980s, specifically, to the beginning of the HIV and AIDS epidemic.

The stellar cast includes singer Olly Alexander, as well as Stephen Fry and Neil Patrick Harris.

It’s a Sin is Davies‘ first real foray into the AIDS crisis, with HIV and AIDS notably absent from the plot of his ’90s drama Queer as Folk.

Here’s everything you need to know about It’s a Sin, including how to watch it after an exciting new announcement from Channel 4.

What is the plot of It’s a Sin?

It's a Sin: Olly Alexander shines in teaser for Russell T Davies AIDS drama
Olly Alexander in Russell T Davies’ new AIDS drama It’s a Sin. (Channel 4)

The series focuses on a group of three young gay men who are all affected by the 1980s AIDS crisis after moving to London and renting a flat together, which they call the Pink Palace. Davies has described the show as both a “sexy laugh” and a tribute to the victims of the AIDS crisis.

Main character Ritchie Tozer – a hopeful young actor from the Isle of Wight played by singer Olly Alexander – is an AIDS-denier who spouts COVID-esque conspiracy theories of the kind you might expect to see in dodgy Facebook groups.

“The whole thing is a pack of lies,” the character says. “Do you want to know the truth? You want to know what it really is? AIDS? It’s a racket, it’s a money-making scheme for drug companies. Do you seriously think there is an illness that only kills gay men? It can calculate that you’re gay and kill you, but only if you’re gay and no one else? Hmm.”

The young men all have differing attitudes to the virus, mirroring the current pandemic.

It's A Sin
The trailer for It’s A Sin (YouTube/Channel 4)

Channel 4 released the following description of the new drama, writing: “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.

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

Who are the cast of It’s a Sin?

It’s a Sin: How to watch Russell T Davies' new drama, plot and cast details
It’s A Sin. (Channel 4)

Olly Alexander from the band Years & Years is heading up the cast – he plays the main character Ritchie. Newcomer Omari Douglas plays his friend Roscoe – a wild party boy –  and their other housemate Colin, described as quiet and unassuming, is played by Callum Scott Howells.

Lydia West plays Jill Baxter, Ritchie’s friend from college, while Line of Duty and Tipping The Velvet star Keeley Hawes plays Ritchie’s mum Valerie. Neil Patrick Harris plays Henry Coltrane, Tracey Ann Oberman plays Carol Carter and Shaun Dooley plays Ritchie’s dad Clive. 

Olly Alexander was thrilled to be cast in the show, saying: “I feel like the luckiest boy in the world to be a part of this project, 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.”

Is there a trailer?

There is indeed: a trailer came out towards the end of 2020. You can watch it below.  

When is It’s a Sin on TV and how can I watch it?

It’s A Sin will premiere on Friday 22nd January 2021 on Channel 4 at 9pm.

All five episodes will be available to stream on All4 that very same night.

Related topics: channel 4, HIV, HIV/AIDS, It's a Sin, LGBT, Olly Alexander, russell t davies

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