Skip to main content

Home Culture Culture Film & TV

It’s A Sin’s devastating Colin episode has been nominated for a BAFTA TV Award

Colin's shock AIDS diagnosis is up for Virgin Media's Must-See Moment Award - and you can vote now (through the tears).

By Will Stroude

Words: Will Stroude; Image: Twitter @BAFTA 

It was one of the most heart-wrenching TV moments of 2021, and now Colin’s shock AIDS diagnosis in episode three of It’s A Sin has been nominated for a TV BAFTA. 

The devastating scene, which saw the beloved character (played by Callum Scott Howells) receive a terminal AIDS diagnosis after unexpectedly collapsing at work, blind-sided viewers of Russell T Davies’ LGBTQ drama when it first aired in February 2021.

Now, it’s up for Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment Award at the 2022 BAFTA TV Awards, which are set to be broadcast on Sunday 8 May. 

The award is the only BAFTA decided by the British public, with voting open from now until 5pm BST on 19 April (you can cast your vote here).

Other nominees this year include Bimini’s verse from ‘UK, Hun?’ in RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season 2 and Squid Game‘s infamous ‘Red Light, Green Light’ game.

The moment Adele was surprised by her childhood teacher in ITV’s An Audience with Adele is also nominated, as is Ant and Dec dig at Downing Street’s lockdown parties on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here.

Rounding out the list of nominees is Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice’s silent dance to ‘Symphony’ on Strictly Come Dancing, which beautifully communicated Rose’s experience as a deaf woman. 

It’s A Sin was widely acclaimed on its debut on Channel 4 last year, as it deftly charted the AIDS crisis in 1980s and 1990s Britain through the lives of a group of young gay friends in London.

Written by Queer As Folk creator Russell T Davies, the series became Channel 4’s most-binged new series ever and went on to win the Inspiration Award at the 2021 Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards, powered by Jaguar.

Early on in the series, Colin was established as the unlucky-in-love, possibly virginal foil to his sexed-up friends like Ritchie (Olly Alexander) and Roscoe (Omari Douglas), with Davies carefully ensuring viewers never saw the young apprentice tailor involved in any kind of romantic or sexual tryst on-screen.

His collapse with a seizure at work and subsequent diagnosis with AIDS-related dementia – and the subsequent reveal that he’d briefly been involved with his landlady’s son after first moving to London in episode one – was a savage rug-pull moment that left viewers reeling.

Speaking to Attitude before the series’ broadcast, actor Callum Scott Howells admitted the circumstances around Colin’s shock death still made him “so upset” a year on from filming, but that it was an “honour” to have been trusted with such an important story.

“I really hope people are shocked, because I think through shock that’s how you begin to process the extremity of things,” Callum, 22, said.

“I hope people don’t get really, really upset by it, but I think people need to understand what these poor people went through.

“It’s just not fair. It’s just not fair. And even thinking about it off the cuff just makes me so upset.”


Colin’s death may make episode three of It’s A Sin an impossibly dark and moving 50 minutes of television, but the character’s forced detention as an ‘infectious’ person under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984 also served to shine a light on the appalling treatment of those with the disease during the early days of the crisis.

“I’m honoured,” said Callum of his role in shining a light on the injustices faced by those living and dying with Aids in the ’80s. “I mean, I’m honoured to be part of Russell’s show anyway. Like, that is an honour in itself. But to be a part of something which hopefully will affect people, I’m really proud of [it].”

The Welsh rising star went on: “I worked really hard and without being too dramatic I think I really did leave a big chunk of myself in Colin. The scene where he’s in bed and he’s basically told he’s going to die… I mean, f**k, we really had to go there.

“Peter [Hoar] our director was so supportive, he was amazing. That day of filming, he was checking up on me – we knew that scene was coming, and I just remember it happened and you’ve really got to welcome those feelings and really jump into it.

“It was upsetting, but I hope it was worth it, that’s what I hope for.”

You can vote for Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment Award at the 2022 BAFTA TV Awards hereIt’s A Sin is available to stream on All4 in the UK and on HBO Max in the US.