Film and TV

Olly Alexander shares his mum’s incredible reaction to It’s a Sin sex scenes

Emma Powys Maurice May 6, 2021
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Olly Alexander

It's A Sin star Olly Alexander (Cosmopolitan UK/Kaj Jefferies)

The steamy gay sex scenes in It’s a Sin might’ve scandalised The Sun, but Olly Alexander’s mum didn’t bat an eyelid.

The acclaimed Channel 4 drama didn’t hold back in its authentic telling of the AIDS crisis, which meant that more than a few explicit scenes made it to the final cut.

One particular montage centres on the many sexual adventures of Ricky Tozer (yes, you know the one) – and for some more conservative viewers it was all too much.

Fortunately, Olly Alexander’s mother wasn’t one of them.

Asked whether she had dared to watch it, the star told Cosmopolitan:  “Yes, I spoke to her and said, ‘There are some intimate scenes.’ She didn’t bat an eyelid and said, ‘Because you told me, I knew what to expect.’ She’s the best.”

He also revealed that the role made quite the impression on Elton John, who reached out to him after watching the show.

“Elton John… that was surreal,” Alexander said. “He phoned everyone in the cast. It was really sweet.

“It was hard to have a conversation with him because in my head I was going, ‘You’re Elton John.’ He said he loved the show and could see himself in Ritchie.”

Cosmopolitan's June 2021 issue featuring Olly Alexander
Cosmopolitan’s June cover 2021 (Cosmopolitan UK/ Kaj Jefferies)

It’s a Sin had a huge impact on younger LGBT+ viewers too, many of whom had no idea just how horrific the AIDS crisis really was.

“I’ve seen a lot of different responses. Quite a few from younger people that had no idea – 18-year-olds that had no idea that this happened to a community not that long ago,” Olly Alexander said.

“It set me aback because I hadn’t thought about that response, but it totally makes sense. You’re watching a show set not that long ago. And so there are some people who are shocked and can’t believe it. But I’ve also had that response from older people who were there at the time who didn’t know what was going on.”

He continued: “So much of this happened in silence and was brushed under the carpet. And this isn’t taught in schools.

“It would make everybody’s lives better, and help understand each other better, if queer history [was covered]. How HIV first appeared and what happened in the ’80s is a really important part of that. If there’s something you can do to help all the kids, why wouldn’t you do it?”

You can read the interview in full in June’s issue of Cosmopolitan, on sale from 6 May.

Related topics: It's a Sin, Olly Alexander

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