'It led to more deaths': It's A Sin writer Russell T Davies compares 'silence' of AIDS crisis with Covid

  • Watch Sharp End presenter Rob Osborne's interview with Russell T Davies


Welsh screenwriter Russell T Davies has compared the 1980s AIDS crisis to the coronavirus pandemic in an interview about his latest drama, 'It's A Sin'.

The five-part Channel 4 miniseries follows five 18-year-olds in London whose lives are turned upside down by the outbreak of HIV.

The Swansea-born Doctor Who creator said he wrote the new series after living through the virus' arrival in the UK.

In an interview with Sharp End presenter Rob Osborne, Davies said: "I was a teen in 1981. I was that generation that left home - you go to the big city, and you go to find life and you find your family.

"At the time when we did this in 1981, there was a great big shadow slowly creeping across the atlantic, coming from America - a new disease called HIV.

"So that decade of our lives, from 1981 to 1991, shows life being lived as that virus got closer and closer."

The five-part drama stars Years & Years' Olly Alexander. Credit: Channel 4/RED Productions

Davies said he found it interesting to see the amount of media coverage coronavirus has received in comparison to the AIDS epidemic.

"It’s very interesting with the new virus coming along now that it’s on the news every night," he said.

Part of the problem with the HIV virus is that it wasn’t on the news. It happened in silence, it happened in fear.

Russell T Davies

"That then makes people lie and that then makes people ashamed, and that closet door just tightens and the situation gets worse and worse. That silence literally led to more deaths.

"What a strange time. It’s good for all of us to look back."

'It's A Sin' is set in 1980s London. Credit: Channel 4/RED Productions

Davies also said he believes that LGBTQ+ history should be included in the new Welsh curriculum.

He added: "I don’t believe in a separate section - hiving us off into a pink corner. I think it’s just part of history.

"It needs doing and it will be done with people like us making it happen."

The writer also voiced his support for Welsh independence.

He said: ''It's the first time I'm beginning to listen that rising independent voice which seems to be getting stronger.

''I'm not sure we have a Senedd I'd quite hand power to yet but anything to detatch us from Whitehall.

''Let's not even pretend they care, we're like 57th on the agenda. I think the communications in the virus between Wales and Whitehall has shown how low we are down the list.

''Let's get off the list, let's hop it.''