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Elton John reflects on Freddie Mercury’s funeral as he tells It’s a Sin’s Olly Alexander: ‘He was just like you’

Josh Milton February 19, 2021
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Freddie Mercury wearings a rainbow jacket and Elton John

Freddie Mercury (L) and Elton John. (Getty Images)

Sir Elton John regaled Olly Alexander with a haunting memory of attending Freddie Mercury’s funeral, as he compared the young star to the Queen frontman.

Speaking on his Elton John’s Rocket Hour on Apple Music 1, the legendary singer sat down with Alexander to discuss all things It’s a Sin.

The Channel 4 and HBO Max programme, which Sir Elton hailed as “one of the best things I’ve seen on television ever“, has gripped viewers with its joyous yet haunting portrayal of a group of queer friends experiencing 1980s London under the shadow of AIDS.

“I find you inspirational,” Sir Elton told the Years & Years singer, “and I told you when I called you… when this COVID thing has calmed down I’m going to have all of you guys down for a dinner and we’re going to have the best time.”

The “Rocketman” hitmaker added that he also called the show’s creator, Russell T Davies, after finishing It’s a Sin

Surprisingly the two – some of Britain’s most beloved LGBT+ icons – hadn’t actually spoken before.

“When I talked to him, it was just like I’d known him for a long time,” John recalled. “He said: ‘Two of the most famous gay people in Britain that never talked.’

“And we had a good old laugh and a good conversation. And then I rang all the younger members of the cast up because they are such a brilliant cast.”

Olly Alexander is ‘full of life’ just like Freddie Mercury, says Elton John.

Elton John went on to compare Olly Alexander to Freddie Mercury.

He attended the funeral of the flamboyantly defiant singer in 1991 which was one of the “most upsetting occasions of my life because the whole funeral was in Farsi because Freddie was Persian”.

“So nobody understood a whole word of what was going on,” he said.

Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury. (Midori Tsukagoshi/ShinkoMusic/Getty)

“I miss him every day,” John continued, “because he was such, a bit like you [Alexander], positive, full of life, full of energy, hilariously funny, and what a talent.”

Both John and Alexander found that they related to the latter’s It’s a Sin character Ritchie.

“We’re similar!” Alexander, 30, said. “We share a lot of similarities – 18-years-old I moved to London, that’s what I did to make a name for myself.

“I wanted to be an actor, I wanted to be a musician, and I really related to that with Ritchie straight away.”

“Well, it reminded me of myself in the ’70s,” John chipped in. “I was a very naughty boy and I had so much fun and I didn’t care what I got up to.

“You have so much life in you, no matter what you do, whether you’re making music, whether you’re acting, you have this great spirit, which sends out so much positivity.

“I love the essence of what you represent.

“It really touches me, I love people with that kind of positivity.”

Related topics: channel 4, Elton John, Freddie Mercury, It's a Sin, Olly Alexander, russell t davies

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