Russell T Davies says gay roles should be played by gay actors: “It’s about authenticity”

"You wouldn't cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair"

It’s A Sin creator Russell T Davies has said he believes gay roles should be played by gay actors.

The writer and showrunner, who also worked on Queer As Folk and A Very English Scandal, said “it’s about authenticity” when discussing the ongoing debate.

Ahead of his upcoming Channel 4 series It’s A Sin, following a group of young gay men who move to London during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, Davies spoke of his decision to cast gay actors.


The show is set to star Years & Years‘ Olly Alexander, as well as Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Fry.

“I’m not being woke about this… but I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story, I am casting them to act as a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint… they are not there to ‘act gay’ because ‘acting gay’ is a bunch of codes for a performance,” Davies told Radio Times.

“It’s about authenticity, the taste of 2020. You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn’t black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places.”

Reflecting on his casting in the show back in 2019, Alexander had said: “I feel like the luckiest boy in the world to be a part of this project. I’ve been a fan of Russell T Davies ever since I watched Queer As Folk in secret at 14 years old.

“His work helped shape my identity as a gay person so I’m absolutely over the moon we’ll be working together. The script was amazing to read, I laughed and I cried a lot, it’s a privilege to be helping to tell this story and I’m so excited.”


It’s A Sin will premiere on Channel 4 on January 22.