“It’s A Sin – British mini-series set around the 1980s AIDS epidemic now available in Canada
Based in 1980s London England, It’s a Sin follows a group of friends across a decade as they experience the joys and heartbreaks of young adulthood during the height of the AIDS crisis. The limited five episode series is available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video Canada.
Set in 1981, Ritchie (Olly Alexander), Roscoe (Omari Douglas) and Colin (Callum Scott Howells) are young lads, strangers at first, leaving home at 18 and heading off to London with hope and ambition and joy… and walking straight into a virus that most of the world ignores. Year by year, episode by episode, crossing the whole decade, their lives change as the mystery of that illness starts as a rumor, then a threat, then a terror, and then something that binds them together in the fight.
It’s the story of their friends, lovers and families too, especially Jill (Lydia West), the girl who loves them and helps them, and galvanizes them in the battles to come. Together they will endure the horror of the epidemic, the pain of rejection and the prejudices that gay men faced throughout the decade. There are terrible losses and wonderful friendships. And complex families, pushed to the limit and beyond. This is a series that remembers the boys we lost, and celebrates those lives that burned so brightly.
This series will definitely resonate with fans of the original UK version of Queer As Folk, not only with the similarities of it having a mostly male cast and a great music soundtrack, but it’s also another production directed by Russell T. Davies. Episode one opens by introducing the main characters, as they each have their own late teenage secrets and struggles at home, and decide to head to the big city of London to discover themselves.
Richie, Roscoe, and Colin end up becoming flat mates, along with their gal pal Jill, who becomes central to the overall story. It’s the early 80s, and these boys are in their prime. There are several sexual scenes throughout, but not done in an overly graphic manner, which is often the case in other productions that use sex for shock value purposes. This ensures the sex doesn’t take away from the overlying story, which is about how an unknown virus literally shackles the gay community into fear of abstinence. It begins as an “American” issue as news reports of a new disease affecting the gay community come from New York and San Francisco. As the series continues through the decade, it becomes apparent AIDS is now spreading among the community globally.
It seems like perfect timing to have this story told again, with all that’s going on currently with COVID-19 globally. Although fictional, the account of the crisis is based on factual evidence which is eerily similar to what’s happening right now, with the exception that this current virus is not limited to one particular community. It’s a series that will bring back memories for those old enough to have lived through the beginning of the AIDS era, or provide a historical context to those younger viewers unaware of the tragedy that it was. The soundtrack will also likely bring a new audience to a catalogue of British new wave 80s classics.
The series is written and executive produced by Primetime Emmy nominated writer Russell T Davies (“Queer as Folk”, “A Very English Scandal” “Years and Years”) with Nicola Shindler (“Happy Valley,” “The Stranger”) also executive producing.
Be sure to read the February cover feature in theBUZZ for an interview with Neil Patrick Harris on his role in this fascinating series. Here’s an interview with Davies as well.
It’s a Sin is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.