It’s a Sin

Having found Alice (sort of) we now turn our attention to the new Russell T Davies offering, It’s a Sin. This has been widely trailed and had good reviews; nevertheless I was a little wary because I’d been feeling down last night and didn’t want to get downer. In case you missed the trailers, It’s a Sin deals with the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s, a time when homosexuality was legal but still deeply stigmatised, especially in traditional communities. But I needn’t have worried; so far it’s a delight. The series centres on three guys; Ritchie, a sheltered young lad from the Isle of Wight going to university on the mainland; Roscoe, a Nigerian whose family already know of his homosexuality and are planning to ship him back home to be ‘cured’, and a young Welshman Colin joining a London firm of couturiers seemingly staffed exclusively by gay men. There’s a predatory boss reminiscent of Monty in Withnail and I and an older colleague, Henry, who takes Colin under his wing and later dies of a mysterious disease, alone and abandoned by everyone including his Argentine lover. At uni, Ritchie falls in with a wild and joyous crowd and ends up changing from Accountancy to Drama, and as for Roscoe, he leaves the family home dressed in short skirt, skimpy top and headband so his trajectory is already set. I expected It’s a Sin to be sad; I did not expect it to be joyous, but so far it largely is. Episode one concentrates on music, dance, sex, self-discovery and joyous self-expression and ends with the three men plus two of their friends moving into a huge house together. It reminded me of the Small Axe films, especially Lovers Rock; it has something of that spirit in showing us a marginalised and oppressed community expressing itself.

It’s hard to imagine now just how hidden homosexuality was back in 1981. The Tory government – arguably stuffed with closet gays of which I suspect Stephen Fry’s character will turn out to be one – was vicious in its opposition to gay rights and at least one member of the cabinet, Matthew Parris, found serving in Thatcher’s government as a gay man a deeply uncomfortable experience. So far Thatcher has not been mentioned by name, nor has the Falkland’s war but there’s some anti-Argentine feeling expressed by one of Henry’s neighbours.

So it’s definitely worth a watch.

We’re still working through Mark Kermode’s series on cinema, of which more anon. I can’t help thinking it would have been better to have more episodes and take more time doing it, as it’s a bit of a whistle-stop tour so I find myself pausing half-way through in order to digest. This week’s episode was about cult films – we’re still waiting to see if he mentions Withnail.

And that was yesterday. Today we have no snow and the world is a muddy green.

Kirk out

Years and Years and Years and Years

Just when you think there can’t possibly be any more TV drama quite as good as the series you’ve finished watching (and yes I know Killing Eve is coming back but you’d have to be under a rock not to know that) along comes Russell T Davies to knock you off your feet and turn you upside down and spin you round and round. Years and Years is quite simply astonishing drama. A pinch of Black Mirror, a dash of The Thick of It and oodles of what can only be called Russell-T-Daviesness, that unique quality that he brought to Dr Who and now splashes all over this slightly futuristic drama, make this highly watchable. Emma Thompson plays against type as a nasty Katie Hopkins-ish politician, part of the political backdrop to the story of the Lyons (definitely a reference there) an extended family including a left-wing political activist, a politically naive and rather annoying wheelchair-user (good to see him casting against the usual angelic type there) and a housing worker who falls in love with a Ukrainian guy. These stories of gay love, deportation, exploitation, technology and Trumpian politics take place against the backdrop of a banking crash which propels the father (Rory Kinnear) from rich householder to cycle courier forced to decamp with his family to his mother’s (Anne Reid) huge house. Two storylines culminate in a devastating denouement in episode 4 – and it’s not over yet! There are two more episodes and since they haven’t put this up as a box set we’ll have to wait. As God intended. And quite right too.

Back in what we are pleased to call the real world, the Queen must be having interesting times trying to make conversation with You Know Who. This Tangerine Nightmare is the last person anyone wants over here (except Boris – but did you see that embarrassing video they posted on Big Ben?) but he doesn’t have the sense he was born with. If you really want to take over the NHS the last thing you should do is tell everyone. Perhaps now people will wake up to what the real Brexit game is.

Kirk out