Digital Culture

It’s a Sin: Didn’t You Know?

Zoe Coughlan

New to channel 4, with debut actors and a killer soundtrack, ‘It’s a Sin’ has swept the nation, breaking the hearts of all who are able to finish it, transcending generations, sexuality and prejudices. But what should you know before watching this hyper-sexual 80s TV drama about the AIDS pandemic? Warning: Spoilers Ahead.

Advertisements for the series have populated our screens, but don’t expect a feel-good comedy filled with extroverted characters in London in the 80s like they show. Instead It’s a Sin follows a group of friends, alienated by their families due to their sexuality before moving to London at the start of the AIDS pandemic. The series captures the zeitgeist of the fear of the gay community during this time and despite being advertised as a political yet comic portrayal of homosexuality in the 1980s it unravels to be a hard-hitting and personal account of the illness. 

Hiding behind these advertisements of young gay men having fun in London, is a dark and distressing truth about the victims of AIDS. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself engrossed in the trainwreck in front of you, hoping for a happy ending but knowing that the worst is yet to come.

So why are the advertisements so misleading; creating a vacuum where viewers are propelled into a world they are unprepared for? It mirrors the glamourisation of life in London for homosexual males, where sex is celebrated, creating a space for a more liberating lifestyle. That is until of course, an unexpected and unexplained disease attacks the community out of nowhere with society branding them as ‘sinners’ and treating them as leppers.

The scope of characters in this show also explore how it affected everyone in the gay community. Richie is promiscuous and in denial about AIDS, while Collin is an introvert yet is the first to contract the disease after sleeping with one man. It ultimately highlights how unpredictable these times were and as a result, the show is not tailored for audience satisfaction. Instead it gives an intimate insight into the destruction both the illness and the awareness of the lives of healthy young men. I recommend that you don’t get attached to any of the characters because chances are, they will die before the series finishes.

Overall, should you watch ‘It’s a Sin’? Yes! Just get the tissues ready and be prepared to buy a whole lot of condoms because you will definitely take your sexual health much more seriously after watching this Channel 4 drama.

Categories: Digital Culture, Film & TV

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