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8 Most Heartbreaking Moments in It’s a Sin

British network Channel 4’s It’s a Sin was huge at the time of its release, taking the world by storm after it was released both in the UK and internationally through streaming service HBO Max. The series is set in 1980s Britain, telling the story of young people in London and the tragedies which surround their lives during the AIDS epidemic, claiming the lives of thousands of young people. LGBTQ+ representation has come a long way since its bloom in the 2000s, and while 2021 was a great year for LGBTQ+ stories, they are still often underrepresented in mainstream media. It’s a Sin represents a moment where real, complex stories are being told with justice for those involved.

The series focuses on the illness caused by the pandemic, the disintegration of family relationships, and the stigma the LGBTQ+ community faced during this time period. The characters are lovable but are not immune to the devastation caused by the epidemic, and the series consists of lots of equally uplifting and devastating moments. Here’s a look at 8 of the most heartbreaking moments in It’s a Sin.

Related: Best LGBTQ+ Movies of the 2010s

8 Roscoe Leaves Home


roscoe leaves

Omari Douglas is Roscoe in It’s a Sin. He is of Nigerian descent and after his family realizes that he is gay, they attempt to send him back to Nigeria. His family’s attitude demonstrates just how ignorant and damaging attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people were during this time. There’s a heartbreaking moment when he hugs his sister after she tells him to flee his home for his own safety, showing just how isolated LGBTQ+ people were, even from their own families, during this time.


7 Gloria Becomes Ill


gloria falls ill

Gregory, who is referred to as Gloria by his friends, is a bus conductor portrayed by David Carlyle. His character seems to be enjoying his youth later in life, and while it’s never explicitly stated, it appears he is reliving a youth that he has perhaps been repressing. In episode 2, the AIDS epidemic becomes real for the characters, and we see Gloria fall ill and ask Jill to help him with shopping and to stay away from him. It’s a heartbreaking moment that demonstrates the real-life consequences of the virus.

6 Colin Locked Up in the Hospital


colin locked up

Colin’s story in It’s a Sin is gut-wrenching. He is the first from the main group to contract the virus, and he’s the character the audience would least suspect to contract it, as up until this point it’s suggested Colin hasn’t been sexually active. It’s a horrific reminder of how the virus did not discriminate, and after Colin is put in hospital, the doctors quarantine him after learning about his condition so that even his own mother cannot reach him.


5 Gloria’s Family Burn his Possessions


its-a-sin-gloria
Channel 4

Before Gloria dies, he travels back to his family in Scotland. After he dies, his family burn his possessions, including photos and personal items which hold significant value. Knowledge of how AIDS was transmitted was limited, and therefore fueled by misinformation, so people often took devastating measures such as this out of fear. It’s a heartbreaking moment where AIDS wipes away all that remains of someone who was just discovering themselves.

4 Jill is Attacked


jill police

The layers of social issues and discrimination that minority in 1980s Britain is demonstrated when Jill is brutally assaulted by the police in front of her parents in an attack that is clearly racially motivated. There’s a feeling of helplessness in the scene, and her loved ones can only look on as she is attacked for reasons out of her control.

Related: These Queer Films Have Helped Change the Mainstream

3 Ritchie Comes Out


rithcie comes out

The final episode is one of the most difficult to watch in the shows run. In this episode, Ritchie is battling with AIDS and the toll it is taking on his physical health, which is rapidly deteriorating. Ritchie’s parents turn up to the hospital he is in, and quickly realize why he is there. He is forced to come out and is clearly apprehensive about his parents’ reaction. It’s a difficult viewing experience as we realize how alone Ritchie is, and how much of his life he has had to conceal from his family.

2 Colin’s Death


colin death

Colin was arguably the most lovable and kind natured character throughout the series, so it’s no surprise that his death was devastating. The scene is quiet and impactful, and we can see just how devastating impact the virus had. His mother is by his side as it all happens, making the scene even more upsetting.


1 The Ending


ending its a sin

The ending of It’s a Sin was directed beautifully, and the actors involved delivered emotional performances which made it even more impactful. Jill and Roscoe try to visit Richie, who is at the end of his battle with AIDs, but are constantly refused by his mother. Jill and Valerie (Ritchie’s mother) meet at the pier, and Valerie informs her that Ritchie has already passed. It’s a devastating portrayal of what would often happen: at the end of a member of the LGBTQ+ community’s life, they were isolated from the ones who actually knew and loved them, and consequently forced to spend their last moments alone.


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