It's A Sin: The Welsh woman who inspired the hit Aids drama

  • Video report by ITV News reporter Ellie Pitt

The Welsh woman who inspired Channel 4's It's A Sin has spoken about seeing her experiences being brought to life in the hit drama.

Jill Nalder from Neath was living in London during the 1980s and lost three friends during the Aids crisis.

She is a friend of series creator Russell T Davies and was the inspiration behind the character of Jill Baxter, played by Lydia West.

"A lot of it is very true in the essence of it," she said.

"I can certainly relate to the hospital scenes where there were lots of young men in room very sick or dying - that's a very true image of what the time was like."

The series follows Jill's journey to educate and comfort her friends through the Aids crisis of the 1980s.

Jill had a cameo in the series, playing her own mother, something she said she was "never expecting."

Fans quickly warmed to the Jill character but the real Jill said she "couldn't believe it" when #BeMoreJill started trending on social media.

"I am a little bit social media shy here and I couldn't believe it - I still can't believe it."

The five-part Channel 4 drama has been broadly praised for its candid portrayal of the Aids crisis.

The series follows five 18-year-olds in London whose lives are turned upside down by the outbreak of HIV and its impact on the LGBT community.

It has had more than 6.5 million views on All 4, according to the broadcaster.

This helped drive the streaming platform to its best ever month in January.

The platform had 91% more views last month compared with January 2020.

Credit: Channel 4

The Welsh screenwriter behind It's A Sin, Russell T Davies has compared the 1980s AIDS crisis to the coronavirus pandemic.

Davies described the "silence" of AIDS pandemic compared to this one as deafening.

He said: "It has been ignored, it has been set aside. Politically it gets ignored, it wrongly gets ignored."

"I lived through the 80s and 90s with young men around me dying, but that's the only 80s and 90s I ever experienced, so in some ways that felt natural - but I think as you get older you think 'that's not normal' and if anything it's a sort of trauma," he continued.

"Trauma's at the heart of it - terrible things happened."

Davies said he is now hopeful the series will educate young people, who do not know about the Aids epidemic in the 1980s, and also encourage them to be safe.

It’s A Sin stars Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander, Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris and Omari Douglas.