Russell T Davies has hit back at commentators who criticised him for casting only gay actors in gay roles in It’s A Sin, his acclaimed Channel 4 series on the Aids crisis in the 80s.
Appearing on Steph’s Packed Lunch on All 4, Davies said that he had found it “strange” that it was straight male critics who had “told him off”.
“Can you believe that, Steph?” he said. “Straight men telling you how to live your life? What a puzzle that was. What a surprise! A marvel!”
He said that once the show had aired the critics had fallen silent.
“People could see what I meant,” he said. “There was an entirely gay and queer cast doing their stuff, and I think it shines off the programme. I think it rises off the screen, I think there’s an energy.”
Davies disagreed that his casting choices would lead to gay actors being turned down for straight roles.
“No, because it’s not equal,” he replied. “There’s 100 straight actors, there’s two gay actors. There’s 100 straight parts, there’s two gay parts.
“‘And frankly, if you do get gay actors to play straight parts, we’ve been pretending to be straight since the age of eleven.”
It’s A Sin, which is currently being shown on Channel 4, and can be streamed on All 4, has become the channel’s “most binged new series ever”, according to the broadcaster, with 6.5 million views on All 4.
Ian Katz, the station’s Chief Content Officer, said, “The extraordinary performance of It’s A Sin is a reminder that powerful drama with something important to say about the world can also be commercially successful.”