It’s A Sin, the scorching new AIDS crisis series from A Very English Scandal writer Russell T Davies, is premiering on UK Channel 4 ahead of the HBO Max show next month.

Set in London in the 1980s, the five-part drama follows a group of young friends as they embrace the capital’s gay scene and tragically face the terror of AIDS. The cast is led by Years & Years front man Olly Alexander and includes cameos from Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Fry.

Channel 4 premiered It’s A Sin in front of 1.9 million viewers last Friday, making it the station’s top-rated drama start since David Tennant star Deadwater Fell last January. It was also Channel 4’s best young drama (between the ages of 16 and 34) in three years.

Catch-up Viewing has already taken It’s A Sin’s total audience to 2.5 million in the past three days, while the series also experienced a storm on Channel 4’s All 4 streaming service, with every episode available for binge viewing. While the company is keeping the actual numbers close to its chest, resourcingstrategies believes it is on track to become All 4’s biggest drama launch ever and has contributed to a record weekend for the streamer.

Combine that feat with multiple five-star reviews (in The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, and gay magazine Attitude to name a few) and you’ve got a good slap on your hands. All of this bodes well for HBO Max, which is co-producing with Channel 4 and will premiere the entire series on February 18.

It’s A Sin was produced by the Red Production Company owned by Studiocanal and is distributed by All3Media International. Omari Douglas, Nathaniel Curtis, Callum Scott Howells and Lydia West appear alongside Alexander as residents of the “Pink Palace”, the London apartment around which much of the drama revolves.

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