In a new, career-spanning interview with The Hollywood Reporter’s podcast “TV’s Top 5,” It’s a Sin creator Russell T. Davies talks about his career, his casting decisions, and what he’s doing next.
Davies spoke with Daniel Fienberg and Lesley Goldberg for the podcast, who asked him if he has more plans for his current hit show It’s a Sin. “There isn't a second season. It was lovely. It said everything I wanted to say,” Davies answered. “The only long-running thing I've ever done is Doctor Who and that's because Doctor Who is designed to be long running.”
He said that instead of working on a second season, he’s been mentoring others who are developing shows, working as a script editor, and writing. “I don't know how I follow something like It's a Sin,” he said. “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.”
Even with only one season, the show has gotten 19 million views and is credited with a spike in HIV testing. All of this was before the series even made it to America via HBO Max.
Ending the show after one season was always the plan. “It's what I like to do; it was always a one-off for me,” he says. “When the channel controller picked this script up I can remember him saying, ‘Oh, this is great. The '80s. There's tons of music. We could run this for years.’ He was very much seeing it as a show that we do '81 this year, '82 next year, '83, '84 … I was like, ‘“Oh dear, sorry. This is just a one-off.’”
Davies also talked about how casting and writing for projects like his, which usually feature a lot of LGBTQ+ characters, has changed during his career. “A significant thing about Queer as Folk is that the British one barely mentions HIV or AIDS at all,” he said about his first show about LGBTQ+ characters. He thinks it was the right decision to wait until now to focus a series on the disease and people living with it. “Both in the news and in fiction, if a gay or a queer character cropped up — and we didn't even say 'queer' then — they would be related to an HIV story,” he remembers. “That's all we ever saw. It was literally time to break free.”
The interview also touched on the subject of casting gay actors in gay roles, something Davies didn’t do on his earlier shows, but made a commitment to for It’s a Sin. “There’s a reason why the cast clicked on It’s a Sin, and that’s because they were out and they were politically engaged as human beings on this earth, from day one. The name of the game these days is authenticity.”
He continued, saying, “it's a different world to the one that I started out in. There's an awful lot of gay actors. Gay lead actors, and gay lead actors who will finance a production because they're so famous, are still very rare. Which proves that we're nowhere near equality. You have to create these stars now.”