Keeley Hawes talks 'heartbreak' of starring in It's A Sin

Sarah Ilston
·2-min read
Photo credit: ROSS FERGUSON
Photo credit: ROSS FERGUSON

From Red Online

Keeley Hawes has admitted that she 'can't stop crying' when discussing her role in It's A Sin, the hit Channel 4 drama everyone's talking about.

The 44-year-old actress plays Valerie Tozer, the mother of Ritchie (portrayed beautifully by Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander), in the groundbreaking series which started on Friday.

It's A Sin tells the story of a group of young gay men who move into a London house share with their friend Jill in the 1980s. Their carefree coming-of-age (and identity) is suddenly cut short as the AIDs epidemic begins.

Created by Queer as Folk's Russell T Davies, the series has been praised for its unflinching, compassionate and vivid look at the LBGTQ+ scene at the time, along with highlighting the prejudice the gay community faced from wider society. Something that's long been ignored.

Hawes says her character's views typified those at the time and is an unlikeable 'product of her generation'. So, it's a great testament to the Finding Alice star's acting talent and passion for the role that viewers have found themselves warming towards Valerie.

'Valerie is someone who is very easy to dislike,' Hawes admitted when speaking at an event for the BFI At Home series last week. 'So the trick was bringing something likeable to her because we have to have empathy with her.'

Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

She added: 'And I do. I knew women like that, I knew people like that. At her core she adores her children and her son. In her heart she adores him.'

The actress also revealed that she was determined to be in Davies' semi-autobiographical drama from the first time she heard about the show. She told husband (and fellow actor) Matthew MacFayden: 'I'd love to be in that'.

Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

Even so she 'can't talk about the characters', since filming finished because of the emotion attached. 'You carry them with you, they don’t leave you. And that is down to the cast and down to their performances and down to Russell’s writing.'

It's A Sin is currently showing on Channel 4 at 9pm on Fridays - or you can stream all five episodes on All4 now.

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