Film and TV

It’s a Sin creator Russell T Davies explains the heartwarming origins of ‘La!’

Nick Duffy January 28, 2021
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It's a Sin creator Russell T Davies explains the heartwarming origins of La!

The affirmation 'La!' is one of many elements of It's a Sin to draw on Russell T Davies' own experiences

It’s a Sin creator Russell T Davies has revealed the origins of the infamous affirmation “La!”

In the show, the residents of the Pink Palace can often be heard uttering the greeting to each other after a drag performance from Ritchie Tozer, played by Olly Alexander.

Many elements of the show draw on the experiences of showrunner Russell T Davies in the 1980s, and the TV writer has revealed that “La!” is no different.

Speaking on companion show It’s a Sin: After Hours, Davies revealed: “I wanted to do that, partly because I did that as a little camp kid in Swansea. Me and my gang of mates, when we were teenagers, all belonged to the same youth theatre, that was one of our jokes.

“There are some people out there who I haven’t seen for years who might watch this and go, ‘I used to do that, I used to go, “La!”‘

“How they explain that to their wives, I would love to know.”

Russell T Davies deserves a BAFTA for his explanation of ‘La!’ alone

Exemplifying the level of care and detail that went into shaping the characters and their relationships, Davis continued: “I put it in because that’s how groups of friends work and I don’t think you ever see that often enough on television and in films.

“Groups of people who spend a lot of time together have these codes and jokes and in-jokes.

“They might have a funny way of saying ‘thank you’, or little nicknames for each other, like this lot feminise each other’s names, which we all used to do as little gay kids in the 1980s. It was a nod to that, that they’ve got a joke and it runs throughout the rest of the episodes.

“As time goes on, it wears out, as in-jokes do, and it gets slightly forgotten. But I wanted to do that to make them feel a bit more real.”

Clearly the T in Russell T Davies stands for ‘Ttention to detail.

The affirmation 'La!' is one of many elements of It's a Sin to draw on Russell T Davies' own experiences
The affirmation ‘La!’ is one of many elements of It’s a Sin to draw on Russell T Davies’ own experiences

A surprising amount of It’s a Sin is based on real life

Davies previously revealed that the Pink Palace as depicted in the series was a real queer London housshare in the 1980s, while fan favourite character Jill was inspired by his real-life friend Jill Nalder.

While Jill Baxter is seen in later episodes of the show landing a role in an exquisitely-crafted fictional musical based on the French revolution, Nalder is a theatre actress who spent many years as part of the cast of Les Miserables.

The real-life actress even pops up on the show, playing Jill’s proud and supportive mother.

Speaking to Gay Times, Nalder said: “It’s loosely based on a lot of people’s lives, and Russell’s own interpretation of the era.

“I did live in the Pink Palace, me and a few other people who might be listening who lived in the Pink Palace, which was a fabulous flat to find in London to find in the 80s. There was a lot going on, it was a massive freedom for people who came from small communities where there was no tolerance of their lifestyle.”

Related topics: It's a Sin, Olly Alexander, russell t davies

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