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Film and TV

Russell T Davies reveals jaw-dropping twists from It’s a Sin’s missing episodes

Emma Powys Maurice February 24, 2021
Its a Sin has so much to teach us in the ongoing battle against HIV stigma

The central cast of It's A Sin. (Channel 4)

It’s a Sin creator Russell T Davies revealed that he originally planned for the show to be eight episodes long, with the final scenes extending decades into the future.

Speaking with legendary AIDS activist Ruth Coker Burks at Damian Barr’s Literary Salon, Davies shared his early ideas for the acclaimed AIDS drama, which recently concluded after five episodes.

“It could’ve been eight episodes long, and there would’ve been an extra flatmate, and he would’ve had adventures,” he said. “But I was offered four episodes, and that’s fine. Everything that I would’ve done kind of compacted inwards.

“I did sit there thinking, ‘Should I lose a flatmate, should I lose Roscoe, should I lose Colin?’ But I just couldn’t, which is why it’s quite a dense piece of work, which I think actually has acted in its favour.”

Davies pushed for a fifth episode, and although he’s happy with the series, he said there was “always meant” to be a final, sixth episode following an older Jill as she searched for the secrets of the Tozer family’s past.

“There was always meant to be a final episode. It was never written, so it doesn’t exist, but it was kind of budgeted for,” he explained.

“We’d catch up with Jill at the age of 55 and she’s still working in mental and sexual health. It’s too long a story to describe, but you get the feeling that she’s trapped in that world, actually.”

Davies based the character of Jill on his real-life friend, and envisaged the fictional character earning a living just as she does, “Going on cruise ships and to conference centres and singing songs on the West End with all her mates.”

He continued: “And while she’s been away on one of her sexual health lectures, a booking was accidentally made for the Isle of Wight, which she’s never been back to since.

“She decides to go, she goes back to the Isle of Wight to meet that family. That’s why there was a sister there, in Ritchie’s household.”

In her search for answers Jill would’ve visited Ritchie’s mother in a care home. “You would’ve explored the sexual abuse at the heart of the Tozer household and [learned] how Valerie ended up like she did,” he suggested.

And It’s a Sin was going to have one final bombshell for Roscoe, too.

“She’d have met with Roscoe, and Roscoe would’ve been one of those men who contract HIV in middle age,” Davies revealed. “You know, 50 years old and he’s got the virus having escaped it all those years.”

It certainly would’ve been a striking twist of fate, but the showrunner added he has no desire to revisit that storyline now, anticipating potential difficulties in casting an older Jill and Roscoe.

Davies has previously spoken about his struggle simply getting It’s a Sin off the ground. He told PinkNews that the concept was “hard to sell” to TV channels, igniting a years-long campaign with multiple rejections.

He admitted that he “still mourns” the eight-part version that could’ve been – and TV bosses are likely kicking themselves too, since the show was so popular it broke All 4 streaming records and drove a 91 per cent increase in viewership.

 

More: HIV/AIDS, It's a Sin, russell t davies

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