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It’s A Sin: Russell T Davies explains sweet origins and importance of ‘La’

It’s A Sin has fast become one of the UK’s most beloved new dramas – with hearts completely melting at the sound of one word: ‘La.’ 

‘La’ is always shown as a moment of pure unity, and is often uttered by our five leading characters Ritchie, Jill, Roscoe, Colin and Ash, who sing the word aloud to each other amid conversations at their home of the Pink Palace. 

It turns out that the sweet and simple gesture of friendship between the gang has some real roots with writer Russell T Davies. 

Explaining the creation of La in a chat with online spin-off show It’s A Sin: After Hours, Russell said that it stemmed back to his own coming-of-age and coming out. 

He said: ‘I did that as a little camp kid in Swansea. 

‘Me and my gang of mates, when we were teenagers all belonged to the same youth theatre and that was one of our jokes.

‘There [are] some people out there who I haven’t seen for years who might watch this and go, “I used to do that, I used to go, La!” 

‘How they explain that to their wives, I would love to know.’ 

Russell added that, despite it being an in-joke for himself, ‘La’ was important to show the tightness of the group, and how intricately they know each other compared to the outside world.

‘I put it in because that’s how groups of friends work and I don’t think you ever see that often enough on television and in films,’ he added.

‘The groups of people who spend a lot of time together who have these jokes and codes and in-jokes, they might have a funny way of saying “thank you”, or little nicknames for each other, like this lot feminise each other’s names which we all used to do as little gay kids back in the 1980s.’ 

It’s A Sin has proven to be more than a little autobiographical for the former Doctor Who writer, with characters also based on people that he knew as he grew up. 

For example, he’s spoken about how Colin was based loosely on an ex-boyfriend, and Jill – the show’s leading lady – is based on one of his close friends, Jill Nalder, who appears on the show as the mum of her on-screen counterpart. 

It’s so close to what she’s really like, that he decided not to change her name in her honour.

It’s A Sin is available Fridays at 9pm on Channel 4, and available in full on 4 On Demand.

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