Richard Coles reveals shocking treatment of HIV patient at local hospital

Reverend told story during discussion about Aids drama It’s a Sin

It's a Sin trailer

Reverend Richard Coles has discussed the plot of It’s a Sin in relation to his real-life experiences as a gay public figure.

Russell T Davies’s hit drama follows a group of young gay men during the Eighties Aids crisis. In the show, numerous characters with HIV are seen locked away in empty hospital rooms and their visitors are made to wear full protective gear. This was a common occurrence at the time, before it was understood that HIV can only be spread through bodily fluids entering the bloodstream.

Recalling a real-life event in recent years that echoed the show, Coles told The Guardian: “A couple of years ago I went to see a parishioner of mine in our local general hospital in the east Midlands. When I got there, he was on a ward but in a bed that was curtained off and I was asked to put on a gown and gloves. I asked why, and a nursing auxiliary said in front of the whole ward, ‘He’s HIV positive.’”

He added: “I couldn’t believe it. This was 2018! I complained and took it to the top, but I was astonished that in 2018 I could, all of a sudden, be dragged back to 1985.”

Read more - It’s a Sin: Russell T Davies almost didn’t write key part of Colin’s storyline

When asked what memories the show brought back, Coles said: “My first engagement with Aids was through the gay press – there were rumours of this ‘gay cancer’ that was happening in America. It seemed very distant and hypothetical. Then the first person close to me who died was the activist Mark Ashton, who was a very significant person on the gay scene.

“Looking at It’s a Sin, I was struck by how it evokes that period: it did feel like I was almost watching home movies, except with much higher production values.”

Earlier this month, It’s a Sin broke several viewership records for All 4, which had its highest number of monthly views ever in January 2021, nearly doubling the figure from one year previously.

The five-part series has already accumulated 6.5 million views on All 4, becoming the service’s biggest ever instant box set.

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