‘It was a real thrill’: It’s A Sin star Jill Nalder says she was honoured to play Jill Baxter’s mother after her own experiences helped inspire the character
The woman whose life provided inspiration for acclaimed Russell T. Davies drama It’s A Sin has expressed her immense pride at being involved in the hit show.
Activist Jill Nalder, 58, stars in the five-part show as the mother of Jill Baxter, an aspiring actress who witnesses first hand the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS on the gay community in the early 1980s, when treatment, care and understanding of the virus were almost non-existent.
And she admits she was honoured when childhood friend Davies approached her for the part after previously using her own experiences to develop Baxter’s character and story.
Proud: Activist Jill Nalder, whose life provided inspiration for acclaimed Russell T. Davies drama It’s A Sin, has expressed her immense pride at being involved in the hit show
She told Metro: ‘Being involved in sharing personal stories was already an honour but being called by him with the offer of a part was a real thrill. I’d be playing the mother of Jill Baxter and filming was such a joy.’
Nalder worked closely with Davies and actress Lydia West, who plays Baxter as she goes from carefree girl about town to dedicated AIDS activist following a series of tragedies.
She added: ‘Lydia West and all the cast without exception were amazing. The atmosphere was incredibly happy and at times very emotional.
Important role: Jill Nalder stars as the mother of Jill Baxter (played by Lydia West, pictured) an aspiring actress who witnesses the impact of HIV and AIDS on the gay community in the ’80s
‘Russell was a constant presence on set and while that could have been nerve wracking, he was full of warmth, boundless energy and ideas.’
Davies, the writer and producer behind Queer As Folk, the 2005 revival of Doctor Who and Cucumber, also based It’s A Sin on his own experiences in the ’80s.
It has won unanimous praise from critics for highlighting the AIDS crisis as it spread throughout an initially oblivious gay community and the clear lack of clarity regarding its cause.
Jill said: ‘The response has been overwhelming and I think we all feel It’s A Sin is so important because it is real history that needs to be told.
‘Without it, stories like this would remain in the dark.’
Starring role: Jill features regularly in the five part show, which has been hailed by critics and fans alike following its release
Co-stars: Lydia West stars alongside Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander, who plays Ritchie Tozer
Davies cast Years & Years singer Olly Alexander as the show’s protagonist Ritchie Tozer, an 18-year-old hailing from an ignorant, unloving household on the Isle of Wight who throws himself headfirst into London life, soon befriending Jill and three others and renting their flat, lovingly dubbed The Pink Palace.
The cast of young talent is supported by a string of veteran screen stars, including Keeley Hawes and Shaun Dooley as Ritchie’s parents, Stephen Fry as an MP lover of outrageous flatmate Rosce (Omari Douglas) and Neil Patrick Harris as a mentor to another, the quietly observant Colin (Callum Scott Howell).
Watch all five episodes of It’s A Sin on All4 now.
Popular: All five episodes of the show are available to stream on All4 now