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Olly Alexander filmed ‘two full days’ of sex scenes for It’s A Sin

"When you watch the show, there's not that much of me! I was expecting more!," the actor laughed during a BAFTA event on Monday (25 April)

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Channel 4

Years and Years frontman, Olly Alexander, has revealed that he filmed two days of sex scenes for the Channel 4 Aids drama, It’s A Sin.

The ‘Starstruck’ singer, who played Ritchie in the series, revealed the tidbit during a BAFTA Television sessions event in London on Monday (25 April) along with his fellow cast members Omari Douglas, David Carlyle, Callum Scott Howells, and Lydia West. 

During a separate discussion with several of It’s A Sin‘s creative team, editor, Sarah Brewerton, revealed that at one point she had a six-minute montage of sex scenes involving Olly (it was later clarified that the scene was never intended to be six minutes long).

“I was expecting more!”

Laughing about the apparent six-minute edit, Olly said: “I shot two full days of sex scenes. And when you watch the show, there’s not that much of me! I was expecting more!

“Obviously that wasn’t deemed good enough!” the actor-singer continued to joke. 

On a more serious note, he went on to say: “The intimacy co-ordinators as well on the show and Omari and Callum worked with them as well, we all did, they were just so phenomenal, they were amazing.” 

Elsewhere, Olly Alexander, who has been nominated for a BAFTA for his role, said that having the opportunity to be in the show allowed him to learn more about the Aids crisis and connect with himself.

“There was a lot I didn’t understand, there were a lot of dots I hadn’t connected,” he explained. “So being able to do a show like It’s A Sin and so intimately engage with this time in history that I connected with so deeply with my identity as a gay man and how I’ve grown up in this country and you know what Section 28 meant and how that came into place and all of those things I hadn’t really spent the time to look at, but getting to do that for the show to figure out how to play Ritchie and that made me think about myself.

“It was just so life-changing.”

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.

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.

It has now picked up 11 BAFTA nominations. 

The Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards will take place on Sunday 8 May at The Royal Festival Hall, hosted by Richard Ayoade and broadcast on BBC One.

The Attitude May/June issue is out now.