Russell T Davies ‘literally refused’ to write this ‘unbelievably crass’ It’s a Sin scene

Josh Milton
·2-min read

Acclaimed British screenwriter Russell T Davies would “rather have died” than write a certain “unbelievably crass” scene of It’s a Sin.

The Channel 4 programme, a powerful and painful AIDS drama applauded by viewers for its queer cast and groundbreaking portrayal of one of the darkest chapters in LGBT+ history, has gripped viewers. A lot of viewers. 6.5 million, to be exact.

But the show initially faced blowback from programming chiefs when Davies was first pitching the show to broadcasters. From how long It’s a Sin could have been to what – and whose – stories it would tell, a lot of things could have gone differently if Davies didn’t stand his ground.

Speaking on The Hollywood Reporter’s TV’s Top Five podcast, Davies opened up about a creative scuffle he had with one channel director who sought to push a specific scene into the show.

Russell T Davies: ‘I’d rather die than type that scene’

“I was told at one channel: ‘What if it starts on an AIDS ward in say, 1990 or 1992, with the machines and people dying – and then went: 10 years earlier,'” Russell T Davies recalled.

“I thought that was unbelievably crass and literally refused to do it.

“My producer said: ‘I know you don’t like that scene. If you just type it out, if you just type one page of that, it might get made.’

“I’d rather die than type that page. It’s the wrong way to tell it. There was a lot of nonsense like that. Then you just wait for the right commissioner.

It's a Sin: Olly Alexander shines in teaser for Russell T Davies AIDS drama
Olly Alexander in Russell T Davies’ AIDS drama It’s a Sin. (Channel 4)

“In my experiences, all the bosses will leave their jobs every two or three years. So just sit still and the right person will enter the seat again.

“Heads of department changed and I got It’s A Sin commissioned five years later.”

As much as Davies previously told PinkNews that he could have easily written “hundreds” of It’s a Sin episodes, he told the podcast that there won’t be a second season anytime soon.

“There isn’t a second season,” the Queer as Folk creator said.

“It was lovely. It said everything I wanted to say.”

He added: “I don’t know how I follow something like It’s a Sin. I think I’m just going to write something funny.

“I look at my career and I’m a bit puzzled on when I became such a tragedian when I’m a really big laugh actually.”