We begin episode 1 of It’s A Sin in September 1981 with an introduction to our four main characters we’ll be following across the season. Ritchie Tozer is up first, packing his things and leaving the quaint Isle of Wight for London.
There, he begins studying while eyeing up a class featuring a flamboyant, handsome guy called Ash. The duo hit it off immediately, partly thanks to bubbly girl Jill’s introduction, but things take a turn for the worse. Ash tells Ritchie to wash up and he heads off, swallowing his pride. When he returns, Ritchie immediately talks himself into trouble as he questions Ash’s background.
On the back of his rejection, Jill convinces Richie to head back home for Christmas. Things are awkward with the family when he gets there but Jill eventually convinces him to open up. Ritchie tells his parents he has switched his classes across to drama instead of law. Ritchie wants to be an actor and his parents are obviously not happy. His Father blames Jill, believing she’s the one responsible for his change of heart.
Elsewhere, Roscoe works at a construction site but his parents despair over his sexuality. In fact, this situation is so volatile that he’s forced to flee. Just before he does, Roscoe dresses in women’s clothes and delivers a deliciously sassy goodbye before strutting out into the night alone.
Colin Jones settles in at his new job and house, far away from Wales but close to home comforts as Mr Hart’s assistant, Henry Coltrane, intuitively senses that he’s gay. Well, they go for drinks together and he promises Colin that he’s safe where they are.
He brings Colin home to meet his partner, Juan Pablo, as our Welsh lad starts to feel more at home. However, Henry mentions Juan Pablo has been suffering from a nasty cough lately.
In fact, as time skips forward he’s taken into hospital. Henry is taken ill too and subsequently replaced by Mr Bewster. Colin heads off to visit Henry who’s looking the worse for wear. Juan Pablo has been taken home to Portugal leaving Henry all alone.
Colin heads in to the bar and drowns his sorrows in alcohol. Well, this happens to be the same pub that Ritchie, Jill, Roscoe and the others are frequenting and they invite him along to a party. Colin joins them and eventually agrees to move in, letting loose and dancing at the party.
As the episode closes out, Colin, Ritchie and Roscoe all discuss where they want to be in five or ten years’ time. Things look bright for them… until the next scene shows Henry silently being taken out the hospital room in a coffin.
The Episode Review
It’s A Sin begins with a crackling first episode, blending a lovely mix of comedy and drama into a bigger storyline surrounding the Aids virus that looks set to hit this community hard. In fact, this is the one show where the sex montages are actually really important to the overall plot line, showing how quickly and easily this virus spread during the AIDS epidemic.
In true Russell T Davies’ fashion, the dialogue here is fantastic and throughout the episode there’s some wonderful comedy blended in with the drama to great effect. If there’s one gripe though it comes from the pacing, which does feel a tad too quick, especially with how fast we’re jumping through the years. With so many characters introduced so quickly, it doesn’t leave a lot of room to settle in and get to know them. Then again, this is only episode 1.
The ending leaves the door wide open, finishing on a suitably somber note ready for more drama to come.