Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Markus Bidaux
Russell T Davies, creator of upcoming Channel 4 drama It's a Sin, has weighed in on the debate around straight actors playing gay roles.
The writer of shows like Doctor Who and Queer As Folk addressed the issue in a new interview with the Radio Times.
It's a Sin, about the rise of HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s, features TV stars Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Fry and Years & Years singer Olly Alexander in gay roles.
"You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair"
RTD said: “I’m not being woke about this… But I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story, I am casting them to act as a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint… they are not there to ‘act gay’ because ‘acting gay’ is a bunch of codes for a performance.
"It’s about authenticity, the taste of 2020."
The 57-year-old, who was recently named one of the world's most influential LGBTQs in Attitude's 101 issue, added: “You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn’t black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places."
Speaking about the inspiration for his new show, the TV icon explained to the publication: "I was 18 in 1981, just like Ritchie [played by Olly Alexander], so the bones of this story were always in me, but it took a long time to get there.
“Maybe I had to reach this age first.”
It's a Sin drops on Channel 4 on 22 January.
The Attitude 101 February issue featuring 101 LGBTQ trailblazers is out now.