“It was something I was passionate about because in many ways, things don’t change and it’s not as if our society is completely sorted,” It’s a Sin creator Russell T Davies said of the HBO Max miniseries that focusing on the fatal devastation of AIDS in the UK in the 1980s.
“People fighting for trans rights are going through exactly what we were going through back then in the ’80s, the ’70s and the ’60s, in fact trans rights are way back in the ’50s as far as I’m concerned, and in your country too, terrible things are happening,” the Queer As Folk creator added. ”You could be 16 years old watching It’s a Sin, if you are a 16-year-old trans person watching it, you could go, ‘Oh my God, these battles have been going on for generations.’ ”
Davis made his remarks during Deadline’s Contenders Television awards-season event.
Set amid the seismic shifts in Britain under the reign of Margaret Thatcher and the health and cultural crisis ravaging increasingly liberated gay life in the land of Hope and Glory, the five-episode series from the A Very English Scandal scribe premiered on the WarnerMedia streamer February 18. Covering the decade from 1981-91 and focusing on the friendships surrounding the self-described “Pink Palace,” It’s a Sin stars Olly Alexander, Lydia West, Callum Scott Howells, Omari Douglas, Nathaniel Curtis, Neil Patrick Harris, Keely Hawes and Stephen Fry.
Althought she was born two years after the end of the events depicted in It’s a Sin, Years and Years veteran West told me she felt deeply connected to the 1980s era.
“There was so much that I learned during the process of learning about the decade and the period and being able to live through it, through this piece of work, was just amazing,” said West, who plays Jill Baxter in the ensemble limited series. “It was just so amazing to be teleported to that era and live it through this amazing tale of friendship.”
For Davies, the past held another poignant purpose in It’s a Sin.
“To see that battles have been fought before, battles have been won,” the writer and EP said. “And I think it is important to remember, our past, to keep saying it wasn’t always this easy, it wasn’t always this good, because as you’ve seen, presidents can take away rights like that, so can prime ministers.”
Check out the conversation in the video above.