Regression Therapy
SFX|February 2021
Russell T Davies offers an alternative take on a classic Doctor Who story in his new drama It’s A Sin
Russell T Davies

RUSSELL T DAVIES HAS returned to Doctor Who! And he’s brought the Daleks back! Except it’s in an alternative universe and it’s one scene in a much bigger, unmissable story.

“He plays an actor in it and I had such fun with all his different jobs over the years,” Davies explains as to how pop star Olly Alexander came to be battling Skaro’s finest in Channel 4’s new drama It’s A Sin.

“The lead character’s called Ritchie Tozer, he’s a young man going to university in London in episode one. He comes out of the closet – it’s a classic coming out story. So you look around going, ‘Who’s a young, gay, out star?’ There aren’t many people who fit that category – Olly does. I knew he’d done acting but you literally think, like Kylie on Doctor Who, that it’ll never happen. He wouldn’t be free, he’s not going to be interested… It was possibly the subject matter, because he’s very politically aware. I think he’s good enough to say it’s a story that needs telling.”

That story is of the AIDS pandemic of the 1980s, a tale that Davies has finally tackled by celebrating life and love alongside the sadness of loss. And, of course, his passion for Doctor Who – mirroring the appearance of K-9 in 1999’s Queer As Folk. Except this time, there’s a whole spaceship airlock set.

It’s episode four, set in March 1988, that sees Alexander – as Tozer – recording a familiar scene, in a familiar costume, on a familiar set.

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