Channel 4's It's A Sin Gets 19 Million Views and Drives HIV Testing

It's A Sin, the recent Channel 4 drama by Russell T Davies, described as Queer As Folk meets Our Friends In The North, has some impressive statistics to share, and they are not just the usual ones.

Russell T Davies' Its A Sin Breaks All 4 Streaming Records
It's A Sin screencap

Firstly, the show has gained 18.9 million views on their free streaming app All4 across five episodes. It is the All4's biggest ever instant box set show and their most binged show to date.

Breaking that down, an average initial audience of 2.3m viewers per episode and a 10.4% share of the viewing audience at 9pm on Friday nights, It's A Sin's debut episode was Channel 4's biggest drama launch in three years among young viewers. But has reached much, much further thanks to All4.

The other statistic had sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, showing that HIV tests were being ordered at a faster rate than ever before, more than tripled compared to the charity's previous biggest day of orders, and across the week, more than double the number ordered during the previous National HIV Testing Week.

And its helpline experiencing a 30% increase in calls the day after It's a Sin launched whilst visits to their website have more than doubled, including a growth in visits to pages providing information about the virus and transmission. Sales of Philip Normal's It's a Sin inspired 'La.' t-shirt have raised over £250,000 for the charit

It's A Sin follows the story of AIDS in the 1980s, charting the joy and heartbreak of a group of friends across a decade in which everything changed and its significant reach has helped drive an increase in the number of people ordering HIV tests as well as seeking information and support. And, yes, it's got a bit with Daleks in it.

Ian Katz, Chief Content Officer, Channel 4 said: "It's thrilling that It's a Sin has touched so many people in in such a powerful way. It's a wonderful example of how great television can emotionally engage millions of people and leave a real legacy of positive change – just what Channel 4 is there for."

Ian Green, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "It's A Sin has had an amazing impact and I'm thrilled the series has been so successful. The series examines a time in our history we must never forget – when people were dying of a mystery illness and we didn't know why. But it's also important that everyone knows how much HIV has changed since then thanks to massive improvements in preventing, testing for and treating HIV. You can now live a long, healthy life with HIV and effective treatment means you won't pass on the virus to anyone else. We've seen the 'It's A Sin effect' on National HIV Testing Week with tests being ordered at a faster rate than ever before off the back of the series. That's a brilliant legacy for the series."

The British HIV Association (BHIVA) fact checked medical detail in the series, with feedback from a senior doctor who worked on the first specialist HIV ward at the Middlesex Hospital. Dr Laura Waters, BHIVA Chair said: "Thanks to 'It's a Sin,' HIV is a hot conversational topic for a mainstream audience and, for many, for the first time! This gives a huge opportunity to communicate the facts about HIV today through popular media.  HIV treatment is one of the biggest successes in modern medicine – the vast majority of people living with HIV now have a normal life expectancy, and effective medication means there is zero risk of transmission to sexual partners."

It's A Sin is also available on HBO Max in the USA.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.