Jill Nalder, the woman portrayed by Lydia West in Channel 4 series It’s a Sin, has revealed how much of the show is based on real-life events.
The Russell T Davies drama follows a group of young gay men who have moved to London at the beginning of the Aids crisis, in 1981.
They live with Jill (a real friend of Davies), who works as an actor and dedicates her life to helping those diagnosed with HIV.
Sitting down with West to discuss her experiences for a Gay Times interview, Nalder recalled: “You’re living in London – which is all very exciting – and then all of a sudden, there’s a disease that literally changes everything.”
She said she was “very much involved in fundraising” for research around the illness. “The West End community really came together,” Nalder added, “because one thing of course everybody could do was entertain, and so there were a lot of late-night performances and shows.”
Just like in the show, she also made frequent hospital visits to the men who were victims of the disease so that they had company in their final days.
“I went on endless hospital visits,” she said. “You’re taking a place, in a way, of a family member because you become that family together and you just be there in a loving way.
“It’s not an exceptional thing to do. But it was hidden. Because you feel like, ‘Ok, I’ve got to go but not tell anyone I’m going.’”
Appearing on Graham Norton’s radio show on Sunday (25 January), West revealed that the real-life Nalder had been there at the time of filming, as she also played her character Jill Baxter’s mother in a number of scenes.
It’s a Sin is available to watch on All4.
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