Volunteer Writer, Annabel Smith, reviews Channel 4’s latest series.
As National HIV Testing Week happened earlier last February, Russell T. Davies’ new and extremely popular series It’s A Sin strives to highlight the importance of remembering the rise of HIV infections in 1980s Britain, and the ways in which this continues to affect the LGBTQ+ Community today.
The hugely popular show reportedly gave Channel 4’s streaming service its highest monthly views to date, with a record-breaking 6.5 million views. Russel T. Davies has clearly created a buzz, and as one of his most popular series Queer As Folk was criticised for its lack of portrayal of the AIDS crisis, he makes an effort to make this a focus in It’s A Sin.
The show depicts the lack of acceptance of those suffering with AIDS, which today can be easy to ignore, showing Richie’s small-town mother in denial and the impact the AIDS crisis has on religion, shown in the shocking scene where Roscoe discovers his father plans to take him back to Nigeria. These moments are shocking and uncomfortable to watch, however important to remember as a real and common experience for many young people at the time. Davies also highlights the knock-on effect of the AIDS crisis, breeding fear and obsessive cleaning rituals in Jill who struggles to support her friends as they fall ill around her.
Additionally, he sheds light on the sheer desperation among the gay community by showing the range of remedies tried among men to cure the disease in secret – concoctions of vitamins, raw eggs, and even battery acid. Davies really shows the fear, shame and danger of the stigma and misinformation during this crisis, something often forgotten in conversations surrounding the epidemic today.
It’s A Sin serves as a stark reminder of the HIV crisis and illuminates the struggle, showing that beyond the vibrant lives of these young men there was a real stigmatised fear running rampant throughout the gay community.
If you haven’t already joined the millions of others watching It’s A Sin, it is interesting how much you can learn in just five episodes.
Edited by Sophie Alexander – Entertainment Editor
Header Image by Annabel Smith