A good metric for quality television is the amount of noise produced whilst watching; there should be laughs, gasps, sobs and sighs. The Channel 4 show It’s A Sin has all this and more, expect so much guttural sobbing, you might have to turn the volume up.
Written by Russel T Davies, the show explores the AIDS epidemic through the lens of a group of young gay men living life to the absolute fullest in eighties London. The group is led by Richie (Olly Alexander), his best friend and female guardian angel of the group Jill (Lydia West), party-animal Roscoe (Omari Douglas), doting Ash (Nathaniel Curtis) and the quietly endearing Colin (Callum Scott Howells).
The group escape the confines of their hometowns and head to the Capital for university, embracing their sexuality away from the judgement of religion, parents and small-town politics. They move into a rundown apartment nicknamed “the pink palace”, chase a thread of temporary jobs and throw themselves into the pursuit of pleasure head-on. Before long, a mystery “gay” virus begins to elbow its way into the narrative; first through the whispers of the conspiracists and the anxious, then seeping into the media. The friendship group largely ignores it, the misunderstanding around the illness being so extreme and the likelihood of a virus only impacting homosexuals seeming so convenient for the many homophobic people in the country at the time. “Like there’s a disease which just targets the letter ‘h’,” says Richie, breaking the fourth wall to address the audience, “who’s it going to get next? People from Hartlepool?”