‘It’s a Sin’ reviews round-up: ‘Moving and entertaining’ 1980s AIDS drama is a ‘masterpiece’

From the creator of A Very English Scandal, new ’80s drama It’s A Sin premieres tomorrow!

The five-part mini-series from the producers of Happy Valley and Gentleman Jack follows the story of the ’80s, the story of AIDS, and charts the joy and heartbreak of a group of friends across a decade in which everything changed.

The cast is led by Olly Alexander (Ripper Street), Lydia West (Years and Years), and newcomers Nathaniel Curtis, Omari Douglas, and Callum Scott Howells.

They’re joined by familiar faces such as Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Keeley Hawes (The Durrells), Shaun Dooley (Gentleman Jack), Tracy Ann Oberman (Friday Night Dinner), and Stephen Fry (Wilde).

Watch the trailer:


The official synopsis reads: “Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin are young lads, strangers at first, leaving home at 18 and heading off to London in 1981 with hope and ambition and joy… and walking straight into a plague that most of the world ignores. Year by year, episode by episode, their lives change, as the mystery of a new virus starts as a rumour, then a threat, then a terror, and then something that binds them together in the fight.

“It’s the story of their friends, lovers and families too, especially Jill, the girl who loves them and helps them, and galvanises them in the battles to come. Together they will endure the horror of the epidemic, the pain of rejection and the prejudices that gay men faced throughout the decade.

“There are terrible losses and wonderful friendships. And complex families, pushed to the limit and beyond. This is a series that remembers the boys we lost, and celebrates those lives that burned so brightly.”

It’s a Sin is airing on Channel 4 in the UK on Friday nights, with all five episodes available to watch on demand on All 4 from 22nd January.

We’ve rounded up a selection of reviews to help you decide if you’d like to watch the series:


“The prolific Russell T Davies returns with his best series yet, a moving and entertaining exploration of the 1980s AIDS pandemic, which always remembers the human beings at its heart … It’s a Sin is arguably Davies’ masterpiece – an involving, devastating and often very funny piece of TV.” ★★★★★ – Empire


“Here’s a rule you can’t go wrong with: when Russell T Davies writes a TV show, watch it. His dramas are full-size orchestras of the heart. They do everything: joy, agony, love, sex, sorrow, laughter, and increasingly, righteous anger … With an impeccable cast led by the luminous Olly Alexander, It’s a Sin is Davies’ best yet; a joyful tribute to lost lives that delivers a seething verdict on ignorance and cruelty.” – Den of Geek


“It’s devastating, honestly, and truly landmark television. It’s A Sin is impossible to forget.” – Stylist


“Keeley Hawes is amazing as Ritchie’s mum: a complicated, fascinating mix of well-meaning maternal affection and damaging emotional repression … This is a powerful, emotional, entertaining and educational ride, boasting committed performances, impeccable casting, flawless writing and cross-generational appeal, all underscored by glossy, cinematic direction from Peter Hoar.” ★★★★★ – Attitude


It’s a Sin is a stark reminder that everything has changed, yet nothing has changed … a timely, heartbreaking and hugely important new TV drama” – iNews


It’s a Sin [sounds] doomy as hell. It’s not. It’s gorgeous. It’s bright and colourful and inclusive, it’s full of warmth, joy and celebration … It’s even-handed and kind and evokes sympathy for its characters even while depicting what now seems like unconscionable cruelty or stupidity … Just watch it, it’d be a sin not to.” ★★★★ – Evening Standard


“Russell T Davies’s new Aids drama is a reminder to find joy in the scariest times.” ★★★★ – The Independent


“January hasn’t finished yet and, by professional standards, it’s premature to mark any show as being among the best of the year. But screw it. It’s A Sin reaches in so deep and hits with such traumatic force that even recollections of certain scenes find your tears and implode your heart. It’s a remarkable, upsetting, funny, and frightening achievement in television.” ★★★★★ – Culture Whisperer


“I’ve watched the full five-part series, and after many tears, and one “No!” shouted at my screen, I can say this at least: it was worth the wait.” ★★★★ – Radio Times


“The show’s core strength comes from its brilliantly talented newcomer cast bringing realistic unpredictability, humanity, and integrity to multi-dimensional characters, who navigate a world stacked against them … It’s a Sin is a beautiful, joyful, deeply sad, and stunning tribute to those lost in the AIDS epidemic, whose lives were cut short while society attempted to hide them away.” – Mashable


US viewers will be able to watch It’s a Sin on HBO Max later this year.

A Very English Scandal is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.