Play Hard

Here’s why you need to watch It’s A Sin… and binge these other LGBTQ+ boxsets

Sick of seeing LGBTQ+ characters as the sidekick? We got you

Written by High Life North
Published 03.02.2021

By Becky Hardy


Where to watch: All 4

Series: 1

Yes, we categorically know before we watch It’s A Sin that it’s going to break our hearts. But don’t let that put you off seeing one of the most poignant and important pieces of television of the last 10 years.

Boasting an all-star cast – think Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry and Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander – Russell T. Davies’ five-part series follows three young lads who have each moved to London in 1981 to embrace the free, riotous, gay urban life they have so longed for. But what they don’t realise is that they have walked blindly into a plague – a plague that most of the world decides to ignore.

Already a lockdown uber-hit – the series has had in excess of 6.5 million views on All 4 so far, helping Channel 4’s streaming service to a record-breaking month in January – It’s A Sin is as hilarious as it is heartbreaking, and has a soundtrack full of ‘80s bangers to boot.


Where to watch: Netflix

Series: 1–2

Pose is another series grounded in the outrageous ‘80s, the setting this time being New York City’s African-American and Latino LGBTQ+ drag ball culture scene. Charged with the tension between gritty reality and runway glamour, this dance musical follows Blanca Evangelista – a trans performer who, upon receiving a HIV-positive diagnosis, is forced to confront her own mortality and dedicates herself to creating a legacy. Leaving behind one ‘house’ (or band of mainly trans women performers), she forms a rival one – the House of Evangelista – which soon becomes a haven for anyone rejected by their birth families who are searching for a new home. But when the next ball comes rolling around – where house members challenge each other in various categories to be judged on their outfits, attitude, or dance skills – will old rivalries prove too much for Blanca to bear?

Spoiler alert: series three is set to hit our screens later this year. So get caught up, fast!



Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Series: 1–4

Ever wished there was a version of, say, Sex And The City or Emily In Paris but, well, more gay? Enter: The Bold Type. Focussing on the personal and professional lives of three fearless publishing assistants – Kat, Jane and Sutton – all newly employed at New York fashion magazine Scarlet, the show deftly steers through everything from sexuality, identity and gender inequality to health scares, workplace harassment and assault in a brilliant celebration of female friendship.

Smart, cool and current, The Bold Type is an undisputed hit which merges intersectionality and inclusion effortlessly – not least in the character of lesbian social media director, Kat (Aisha Dee). And although we hate to tell you that recent announcements have confirmed The Bold Type will soon be coming to an end, it won’t be before the release of its fifth season later this year. So you’ve still got plenty of time to binge seasons one to four.


Where to watch: Netflix

Series: 1–2

You’re an insecure, bright, sensitive teenage boy with a wildly uninhibited sex-guru mother, an absentee dad, a bully-magnet for a best friend and have the biggest crush on your school’s official ‘way too precocious’ girl who’s hard up for cash. So of course you’re going to open a sex clinic for your fellow students in the school toilets, right?

A decidedly raunchy and thoroughly adorable coming-of-age dramedy, Sex Education holds up a diverse portrayal of teen sexuality, but tackles issues just as pertinent to adult life. Plus, Gillian Anderson slays as sex therapist mum, Jean.

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