Jonas Ney as superspy Martin: going rogue across rival intelligence services
❚ WHAT A ROLLERCOASTER! Just finished all three hit series of Deutschland83/86/89 on Channel4 catchup, an eye-opening panorama of Cold War life during the 1980s, notably in East Germany, the GDR. There, almost every member of your family had been pressed into spying on everyone else by the Stasi and hence at arm’s length by the Russian KGB. In the newly aired series three, the Fall of the Wall and the terrifying prospect of “freedom” becomes almost laughable, were people’s reflexes not so grim as the red peril turns in on itself.
➢ Catch up on Deutschland 83, the irresistible German thriller series set during the 1980s Cold War. Young East German guard Martin Rauch is inveigled into spying
➢ Guardian TV review, 2021 – Western hubris is unpicked as a new series of the hit German drama explores the deeper consequences of the fall of the Berlin Wall
Good times in the Eighties: Olly Alexander fronts the It’s A Sin gang. (Channel 4)
As It’s a Sin is premiered on Channel 4 amid great expectations, Eighties singer Andy Polaris reviews the exuberant five-part TV series. Here’s an extract…
“ ❚ The much-feted writer Russell T Davies broke barriers with the pioneering British TV series Queer As Folk in 1999 and more recently with Cucumber, both lively depictions of gay life in contemporary Britain. Now comes It’s A Sin which focuses on a diverse group of gay friends mostly escaping from the familiar claustrophobia of suburban life (mostly closeted) and attracted to that well-trodden lure of big-city life. We are off to see the wizard, but this time we’re thrown back to 1981, the year of the first recorded British death from Aids at Brompton Hospital in London.
Ritchie (popstar Olly Alexander) is a gauche, attractive, closeted twink leaving home to study law in London, and his send-off from the Isle of Wight is a multi-pack of condoms from his bigoted dad (Shaun Dooley) as they both stress “It’s different on the mainland”. Roscoe (Omari Douglas) is a flamboyant young Nigerian whose strict religious parents are so fraught over his sexual orientation that he bolts defiantly before an intervention. Colin (Callum Scott Howells) leaves the Welsh valleys to lodge with a family and start his apprenticeship with a Savile Row tailor.
It’s A Sin: Lydia West as Jill emerges as the anchor for her hedonistic friends. (Channel 4)
Soon the group become fast friends with Ash (Nathaniel Curtis) becoming Ritchie’s first lover. We follow the group with Ritchie as lynchpin while his horizons broaden along with the thriving bar scene. Casual sex becomes addictive and flashes past in a blaze of encounters against a soundtrack of the hideous but popular Hooked on Classics.
A scene where Ritchie’s pals party at Heaven, the biggest, brand new gay club, was a baptism by sexual freedom for gay men in a pre-internet landscape including myself and friends. (My group Animal Nightlife played early concerts there along with Culture Club, Spandau Ballet and Musical Youth). The scene was blossoming through a whole network of bars and clubs. Safe sex had not yet been advocated, neither had the government’s “Don’t Die of Ignorance” leaflet campaign. It seemed to be abstain or die. Aids awareness was bad for business. As the Eighties proceed in the TV drama each gay character has to deal with the possibility of an early and lonely death if the dreaded health-test proved positive… ” / Continued at Apolarisview
➢ Read Andy’s full review – It’s A Sin: Pitch-perfect drama about the worst of times
➢ Catch up on the whole series of It’s A Sin online at All 4
➢ Previously at Shapers of the 80s: More background discussion about the making of It’s A Sin
Posted in actors, dance music, drama, gay issues, London, nightlife, Pop music, Reviews, Swinging 80s, TV, Youth culture
Tagged Aids, Andy Polaris, Animal Nightlife, Callum Scott Howells, Channel4, It’s A Sin, Lydia West, Nathaniel Curtis, Neil Patrick Harris, Olly Alexander, Omari Douglas, Russell T Davies