Words: Alastair James; photos: Markus Bidaux
Russell T Davies said he was inspired to write his acclaimed AIDS epic, It’s a sin, as well as his fears of being wrong.
It’s a sin tells the story of a group of teenagers living in London during the AIDS crisis of the 80s and 90s. The show was recently named the number one TV show for 2021 by The Guardian, as good as Digital Spy.
Davies’ next big project will see him return to Doctor Who, a series he helped bring back in 2005, as the series celebrates its 60th anniversary.
“Imagine if I was wrong”
Talk to The Guardian to mark It’s a sin Being named the newspaper’s best TV show of the year, Russell says the inspiration came from talking to a friend of his, Jill Nalder, who was going to inspire Jill’s character on the show, about a youngster boy whose parents found out to be gay and dying of AIDS at the same time.
“I never asked him what they were saying because I wanted to imagine it. And I have imagined it for 30 years,” he continues.
He says The Guardian, “Imagine if I was wrong, if it had been hogwash. Imagine if I let down all those people for whom this is a life defining thing. We’ve all lived with their deaths for so long, and doing it justice was a huge burden to carry. “
He also reveals that the main character, Ritchie (played by Olly Alexander) contains some of Russell’s unique characteristics. “His selfishness and the fact that he thinks he’s so smart he can get out of any situation. It’s me. All of his worst flaws are mine.”
Russell goes on to say that he likes his character to be quite “unfriendly”, refuting the idea that gay characters have to be the opposite. “There is often a feeling that the gay character should be the nice character.
“And I tell myself that nobody cares about Tony Soprano, do they? But gays have to be nice! I love to ignore that,” he said.
Moving on to the discussion of other projects Russell has to come, he mentions a drama about crossroads‘Noele Gordon, which will star Helena Bonham Carter. Doctor Who is also mentioned.
Explaining his love for the show, Russell says it was the first thing he watched on TV. Joining the series before his 60th birthday in 2023, Russell refuses to give away anything other than he has already written a few episodes.
On rumors that Olly Alexander is playing the ever-changing Time Lord, Russell gives nothing, only confirming this: “We haven’t really picked anyone yet. We’re just starting the auditions.”