Russell T. Davies has revealed that It’s A Sin was dismissed as a “miserable AIDS drama” by a TV executive.
On 9 September, the trailblazing show won the New Drama prize at the National Television Awards (NTAs) after receiving widespread critical acclaim earlier this year.
It’s A Sin follows a group of friends in 1980s London who grow up in the shadow of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
“It was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Olly Alexander said after the win. “It’s created a conversation that I’m amazed to be a part of. A global conversation.”
Davies, the show’s creator, used the award to call out an ignorant TV executive who dismissed It’s A Sin when it was being pitched to networks.
He said: “There was one television executive who referred to it as ‘that miserable AIDS drama’. Where are they tonight? They won’t get to lick my trophy!”
The show was rejected by the BBC and ITV before being picked up by Channel 4, but Davies did not confirm which network the executive he quoted is from.
“I shall go to church and pray,” the former Doctor Who producer jokingly said of how he will celebrate the award.
During the ceremony, Davies said the award is in honour of “those we lost, those who lived, those who learned and those we loved” during the AIDS crisis.
He added: “It’s a drama about AIDS on a minority channel about what some people would call a minority subject.
“To win on a big night like tonight with all the big stars out there is astonishing.”
cant quite believe it… ✨it’s a sin✨ just won the best new drama at the @OfficialNTAs 😭😭😭 I can’t begin to describe how proud I am to be part of a show with such a powerful narrative surrounded by talented humans ✨💕 to all my fellow cast, LA! 💫 #NTAs #ItsASin pic.twitter.com/tAn90PRK27
— olly alexander (@alexander_olly) September 9, 2021
The drama, which coincided with HIV Testing Week, proved to have a remarkable impact on viewers, with Terrence Higgins Trust announcing that 8,200 HIV tests were ordered in one day – smashing their previous daily record of 2,800.
Ian Green, Chief Executive at the LGBTQ+ charity, said: “It’s A Sin has had an amazing impact and I’m thrilled the series has been so successful.
“The series examines a time in our history we must never forget – when people were dying of a mystery illness and we didn’t know why. But it’s also important that everyone knows how much HIV has changed since then thanks to massive improvements in preventing, testing for and treating HIV.
“You can now live a long, healthy life with HIV and effective treatment means you won’t pass on the virus to anyone else. We’ve seen the ‘It’s A Sin effect’ on National HIV Testing Week with tests being ordered at a faster rate than ever before off the back of the series. That’s a brilliant legacy for the series.”
All five episodes are now available to stream on All4.