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February 2, 2021 5:42 pm  #1


It's a Sin

I mentioned this in another thread, and thought I'd put it here for people wanting a recommendation for something to watch.  It's the new Russell T Davies series on Channel 4 https://www.channel4.com/programmes/its-a-sin .

It spans a decade over the early 80s to early 90s, and follows a group of flatmates as they navigate being young and gay (or having gay friends) during the time when so many people were still closeted and AIDS was taking hold.   I thought it was very good indeed, loved the actors and the script and the exploration of the moral issues.  I am a similar age to the characters so remember those times and attitudes.  It's warm and funny, but given the subject matter, heartbreaking as well. 

 

February 3, 2021 5:57 am  #2


Re: It's a Sin

Thanks for starting the thread.
I am really enjoying the series, though of course it is very sad...
Yes, it is a stark reminder of those times.


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February 3, 2021 11:24 am  #3


Re: It's a Sin

It certainly is.  It's strange thinking back to how difficult it was at that time even before AIDS took hold.  It reminded me that it was only a brave minority who were out in these days. It was still illegal in Scotland at the start of the 80s.  I think the age of consent was 21 in England then too, so those flatmates were well underage. 

I came out as bi at school (in the 70s!) but I think it was maybe easier for girls, partly because it wasn't illegal.  My girlfriend had a much harder time though.  I inadvertently kind of outed her by coming out myself, and we broke up because of it.

It's funny watching it now we have a another pandemic, and thinking how the gay community were at the forefront of controlling the spread of HIV, promoting condom use.  And all the misinformation and fear at the time. 

Anyway, I just loved the series.  I loved the nuances of the characters, and the way the parents were shown, Keeley Hawes character in particular.   I loved the bit about the parenting influencing the children's actions, and the parents themselves having been influenced by their own parents in her character's case.  Quite uncomfortable to watch as a parent!  I don't want to put any spoilers in so not saying too much!

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February 3, 2021 11:29 am  #4


Re: It's a Sin

Oh, not a spoiler, but if anyone is interested, I watched and read interviews with the crew, and it's very much based on Russell T Davies' experience (there's a surprise!), to the extent that Jill's character is a real Jill whom he shared a flat with, and the real Jill plays Jill's mother!  The "la!" greeting was something he and his friends did - that bit I thought was so true to life, no wonder, because it turns out it actually was real life! 

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February 4, 2021 7:58 pm  #5


Re: It's a Sin

I think I may have seen some articles in reference to this show in the past month. It looks interesting! I will have to see if I can watch the videos in my country, or else hope it becomes available here somewhere in the future.
I like seeing shows that portray what it was like to be gay/LGBTQ from times before I was alive. It's interesting to see how the way people talk about these things, how much things are accepted, has changed and not changed over the years. I remember seeing in a documentary how, because homosexuality was illegal in the 70s (which seems way too recent to be true, even though it is - in Australia it was illegal until the 90s I believe!) that when David Bowie put his arm around Mick Ronson's shoulders on TV it was a minor scandal (or so the people in the doc said). A lot of changes have happened gradually in my lifetime. When I had to go back and read about things from around 2005 (when Brokeback Mountain came out) for my Master's research, I was amazed by some of the things that people said that  not so many people would now, though the issues that were discussed at the time have not completely gone away.
Supposedly a lot of kids are out at school, now, which is nice for them. But even when I was in high school it seemed like it would be hard. I had a friend (who I ended up being in love with at the time...some of you know part of that story) who was out to our friend group, but not to everyone. There was one kid, maybe two, who I think might have been gay or bi but it was never something I heard about since I wasn't close with him. And I consider the time I was in high school to be fairly accepting in a general sense, but I guess things are still changing. Hard to say if it will ever be as easy as being straight.


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Clueing for looks.
 

February 4, 2021 8:02 pm  #6


Re: It's a Sin

Male homosexuality was illegal here til the late 60s...famously of course, lesbianism has never been illegal as Victoria didn't know it existed to ban it!


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February 5, 2021 11:59 am  #7


Re: It's a Sin

I lived in Scotland when it finally was legalised in the 80s, but it wasn't till around 2000 that the outdated UK laws were revamped - and then still had to wait longer for equal rights in marriage, etc. It's so shocking looking back to not that long ago.  And I remember campaigning against the Clause 28 - in a way that was even more shocking, because it wasn't an outdated law, but a new law that was brought in specifically to be homophobic.

I thought it was interesting showing one of the main characters also having quite conservative views (disapproved of the idea of a children's book about two dads).  I think it helped show that ordinary people had those views back then. 

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February 5, 2021 12:15 pm  #8


Re: It's a Sin

Scotland's shame that it wasn't legal til the 80s.
Yep, I attended a Manchester demo against Clause 28.


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February 5, 2021 6:07 pm  #9


Re: It's a Sin

Before we swapped countries! https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


Slight spoilers follow!!

One of my friends worked on an AIDS helpline back then.  I did wonder about Jill - we don't really see her romantic life at all, do we?  I wondered what her orientation was, and wondered if she wasn't interested and was more focused on her friends, or if she just didn't meet anyone.  I used to know a straight woman in that situation of a friendship circle of gay men, and she said she found it difficult to meet partners.  I'm especially curious as real life Jill was consulted, and I'd have like to know her take on it! 

I also wondered if it was maybe just a nod to the fact that so often the straight main characters have a gay sidekick who never seems to have a romantic life themselves! Also, of course, it's always nice to have female leads who don't have to have a romantic/sexual interest.

Keeley Hawes' character brings it up too.  I loved those scenes between them!  Was she meant to be secretly romantically in love with Ritchie?  Because I didn't really get that from them - it just looked like a loving friendship to me, but I'm wondering if I didn't pick up on it.

Last edited by Liberty (February 5, 2021 6:09 pm)

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February 5, 2021 6:10 pm  #10


Re: It's a Sin

Er I have only seen the first two episodes...
so I keep feeling you are racing ahead of me.
However, I confess at 9.30 each night I walk the dog...
so I often miss the second half of shows!


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February 6, 2021 8:02 am  #11


Re: It's a Sin

Oh sorry, BB!  I binged watched it over a couple of days.  No dog to walk!  There are no major spoilers in my post, thankfully!  I'll use spoiler tags if I feel the need to say somehting spoilery.

This interview with Jill came up on my feed https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-55937944 .

It's so heartbreaking hearing her talk about young men "disappearing".  It's not just that they died so young, it's on the context of a homophobic society, where they were not out to their families and dying alone.  Lots of people our age and older who should have now been looking at retirement after a productive life, but missed it all.  Looking back, it's seems unbelievable that Clause 28 was brought out then, as if trying to make things even worse! 

Last edited by Liberty (February 6, 2021 8:02 am)

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February 6, 2021 9:39 am  #12


Re: It's a Sin

Ha Ha.
No, it's totally fine.
You weren't the first anyway, our school janitor did the same to me!
This is the modern world and the box set.
I felt last night that I had caught up with most of what you were saying...
gosh it was another tear jerker.
Yes, on the girl...er Jill(hopeless, I am!)
I assume that was Gay Switchboard she was on?
Or maybe, was there a designated AIDS line, at the time?
Just yes, traditionally on GS, you have to be gay to help...
I have been tweeting Boy George.
He was sobbing after seeing the show and I had warned him, when he said he was going to catch up.
I laughed, when he was mentioned last night! Also at the Philip Schofield reference!
I think another interesting point I hadn't really thought of at the time, was the reluctance of some to believe, because of course(as well as the usual abuse) they were also facing the : it's a punishment from God type thing.
Jill really reminds me of a young Vinette,
Everyone on Twitter(including George) saying how brilliant she is.

Last edited by besleybean (February 6, 2021 9:40 am)


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February 6, 2021 1:20 pm  #13


Re: It's a Sin

If you think she's good now, just wait for the last episode with her and Keeley Hawes!  Fantastic performances all round really in this show. 
So funny about the Philip Schofield reference!  I read an interview with Russell T Davies where he said that he hadn't a clue (it was filmed before Philip came out)! 
It is a good reminder about how difficult it was to be out in those days.  It's funny to think that so many of our gay icons were not out back then: Elton John, George Michael, Freddy Mercury, Dale Winton, Kenneth Williams, Liberace!, etc. - I think we remember the handful who did come out (Rupert Everett was quite early, wasn't he? And I think mentioned it caused difficulties with his career). 
Yes, good point about not wanting to believe.  It's almost as if the disease itself seemed homophobic!  So I understand there must have been some denial.  And also that AIDS really was a very strange disease. 
Love that you are on tweeting terms with Boy George!

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February 7, 2021 4:52 pm  #14


Re: It's a Sin

On that last point, I was thinking the same thing, Liberty! 

On your early point about various gay celebrities: I remember watching the film Pride and (though I don't recall it in great detail) there's a scene where some of the gay characters end up in the office of a record  company (or something like that) and one of them, I think, spraypaints something on a wall next to a poster Elton John related to gay rights. I hadn't realized, having grown up knowing he was gay, that there was a time when people didn't know that. 


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Clueing for looks.
 

February 7, 2021 5:50 pm  #15


Re: It's a Sin

Unfortunately George doesn't reply to me, however...
Marilyn and I are like best buddies!
Poor Elton used to have to put up with the whole of Watford's stadium chanting: Elton is a homosexual!


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February 7, 2021 9:30 pm  #16


Re: It's a Sin

While not inherently an insult, I'm sure it was intended as such and would have been was quite unpleasant.


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Clueing for looks.
 

February 8, 2021 6:05 am  #17


Re: It's a Sin

Oh I think it was intentional...


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February 8, 2021 7:53 am  #18


Re: It's a Sin

There were a lot of people who were assumed to be gay, but weren't officially "out".  Yes, I remember that scene in Pride, Yitzok!  There was also lot of speculation, as in the scene where Philip Schofield is mentioned.  And we're talking about people in showbiz where it was maybe more acceptable.   It must have been very difficult to come out if you were, for instance, a teacher or a police officer.
 

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February 9, 2021 3:30 pm  #19


Re: It's a Sin

Yes, I think to some extent that's still the case. Showbiz people are given more room to be "strange" or "eccentric" (there were TV actors in the 50s and 60s who were visibly so in their public persona even if never explicitly called queer) because I think they are often seen as different from everyone else in society (though of course there's still some concern about jobs if you're seen as queer - I remember reading an interview with Elliot Page talking about how early in his career he wasn't allowed to wear pants to events/red carpets because of concern that he would be perceived as a lesbian, even though not all lesbians wear pants/suits - and this was in the 2000s). Some people find queer people somewhat acceptable when they're meant to be a spectacle or put on a show in some way, but when they're close to home in ordinary roles it can make some people uncomfortable. I think things are better now than before, but I don't think that's gone away 100%.


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Clueing for looks.
 

February 9, 2021 5:46 pm  #20


Re: It's a Sin

I think that's so true, that it's not 100% and interesting point about Elliot Page - I didn't know that.  There are still people who would object to a children's book with two fathers, I'm sure.  Every so often people still complain about children being "indocrinated" by learning about same sex relationships in schools, or that thinking they're too young to know about such things - forgetting that people have opposite sex relationships thrust in their faces all the time at all ages! https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png


I read an interview with one of the young actors in It's a Sin who is HIV positive.  It is great that so much progress was made with treatments and that it's no longer a quick route to a horrible, lonely death. 

I won't say too much because I know not everybody has caught up, but I found the moral questions the series raised were very interesting and painful. 

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