Russell T Davies is taking us back to the 80s, the decade of pop music, parties, huge hair… and the AIDS epidemic. This heart-breaking, joyful series follows a group of LGBT friends throughout the decade, with laughter and love sitting front and centre.
The series’s five episodes journey from 1981 to 1991, and focus largely on three men, Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin. The trio have got mutual ground, having all escaped the conservative constraints of their parents’ homes and made their way to the bright lights of liberal London, ready to dance and shag themselves into a stupor.
But creeping around the corner of all these parties, poppers and fornicating, is a weird illness that seems to only be affecting gay men. Is it a virus? Is it tuberculosis, cancer, pneumonia? Nobody really knows. But men are dying alone, including Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin’s friends.
With this set up, you’re likely expecting a gloomy story of grief and loss, and admittedly, there is a lot of that at play. But thanks to Davies’s genius, the series is still wonderfully witty, fiercely fun and wholly heart-warming, with 80s’ anthems inserted at every opportunity, and fashion so good we wouldn’t be surprised if shoulder pads now make a comeback.
Then again, in the world of gay narratives, this isn’t Davies’s first rodeo – Queer as Folk is still an LGBTQ staple watch twenty years after its release. And this series is bound to get the same status – really, it’s sinfully good.
Unsurprisingly, the series has had a lot of buzz straight off the bat. The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan gave it five stars and called it a “poignant masterpiece,” whilst The Telegraph’s Anita Singh seconds this rating, saying the series is “Davies’s best series so far,” set to “break your heart and fill you with joy.” They’re joined in the It’s a Sin fan club by the Independent’s Ed Cumming, who says the series is “a reminder to find joy in the scariest times,” a lesson we likely all need at the moment.
First shown January 2021. You can watch the trailer here.