It’s become the most binge-watched show in Channel 4’s history and has set social media alight with praise.
Fans and critics have been swooning over Russell T Davies’s powerful portrayal of young gay men living during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.
And one of the stars, Scots actor David Carlyle, says he knew as soon as he read the script that it was going to be a hit.
Carlyle, who plays bus driver by day, party-loving-punk Gregory ‘Gloria’ Finch by night, told STV News: “I thought ‘this is a masterpiece’, but you can never predict how it’s going to be received and it’s taken us all a bit by surprise.”
Hamilton-born David watched the first episode alone in his flat while his partner, a paramedic, was at work, and it wasn’t until his phone started buzzing with messages and calls that he realised the impact the show was having.
He said: “I felt dizzy, that’s maybe the best way to put it, but the best dizzy.”
Harrowing scenes show the alienating treatment many of those living with HIV and AIDS endured when little was known about the illness.
‘The story is set against the backdrop of the AIDS pandemic but it’s also a story of friendship joy, loving and living hard and fast.’David Carlyle
Carlyle explained: “It’s funny because now we understand the idea of being scared of the unknown virus, but when we were shooting, I didn’t because I know what HIV is. There’s preventative medication and there’s treatment.
“When filming, it’s hard to get your head around. You’re moved constantly by it.”
The cast, led by Years & Years singer Olly Alexander, formed just as close a bond off screen as they did on it, which helped see them through the difficult scenes they had to portray.
“The story is set against the backdrop of the AIDS pandemic but it’s also a story of friendship joy, loving and living hard and fast,” Carlyle explained. “Doing all those party scenes were all that, so yeah we go for it, have fun.
“The ‘Pink Palace’ five, they’re like family to me now. From day one of rehearsals we just clicked and I don’t think a day goes by when we don’t text each other.
‘All my family want to discuss the crisis and they want to discuss gayness and queerness and rights. That’s kind of special that these conversations are happening.’David Carlyle
“So actually going to work was just hilarious. We had a ball. It is the only way to handle the harrowing storylines.”
Carlyle said his family were proud of his part in the show, but revealed his mum found it tough to watch.
He said: “All my family want to discuss the crisis and they want to discuss gayness and queerness and rights. That’s kind of special that these conversations are happening.”
Living in London at the moment, Carlyle hopes to return to Glasgow soon, where he is planning to marry his partner Jason, but coronavirus restrictions keep getting in the way of their big day.
“We are trying really hard to get marrried in Glasgow,” he said. “My partner proposed to me in Glasgow. We didn’t meet in Glasgow but we spent a lot of time there because of various jobs, so although it’s my home town, it’s also got a great affinity with Jason.”
It’s a Sin is on Channel 4 on Friday nights, while the whole series is being streamed now on ALL4.
It’s National HIV Testing Week. For more information visit https://www.hiv.scot/News/charities-launch-hiv-home-test-during-unique-opportunity-to-get-to-zero