Olly Alexander says some young It's a Sin viewers had 'no idea' about extent of HIV crisis

"It set me aback."


Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures: Cosmopolitan UK/Kaj Jefferies

Olly Alexander has said he's encountered It's a Sin viewers who had "no idea" of the extent of the HIV crisis.

The Years & Years singer played Ritchie in Russell T. Davies' hit Channel 4 show earlier this year, which explored the rise of the pandemic in 80s London. 

In a new interview with Cosmopolitan UK, 'All for You' singer Olly revealed he was "taken aback" to discover some young viewers were unaware of the virus's history. 

"Queer history should be covered in schools"

The star told the publication: "I’ve seen a lot of different responses. Quite a few from younger people that had no idea - 18-year-olds that had no idea that this happened to a community not that long ago.

"It set me aback because I hadn't thought about that response, but it totally makes sense. You're watching a show set not that long ago. And so there are some people who are shocked and can't believe it. But I've also had that response from older people who were there at the time who didn't know what was going on.

“So much of this happened in silence and was brushed under the carpet. And this isn't taught in schools. It would make everybody's lives better, and help understand each other better, if queer history [was covered]. How HIV first appeared and what happened in the 80s is a really important part of that. If there’s something you can do to help all the kids, why wouldn’t you do it?”

The interview follows Olly's split from his Years & Years bandmates Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen back in March. The 30-year-old will continue to release music under the Years & Years name as a soloist. 

On his new single 'Starstruck', Olly explained: “We wrote it towards the end of last year in a studio outside of London before restrictions came in. It was stunning, in the countryside, and there were horses I got to speak to every day. I stayed there for a week. It sounds so corny but when you live in London, you don’t see the stars at night.

“I remember being so overwhelmed and blown away by all the stars in the sky and it was one of those moments. ‘Starstruck’ came together really late one night after we’d tried a couple of other ideas. We just wanted to put as much fun energy into it as possible.”

The June issue of Cosmopolitan - also featuring Jesy Nelson's first interview since leaving Little Mix - is on sale from 6 May.

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