Viewing figures released today along with latest HIV testing data shows the powerful impact of Channel 4’s critically acclaimed drama It’s A Sin.
Written by multi-BAFTA award-winning writer Russell T Davies the series has amassed 18.9m views on All 4*. It is the streaming service’s biggest ever instant box set and the most binged to date, contributing to record All 4 growth in 2021.
On Channel 4 It’s A Sin attracted an average audience of 2.3m viewers per episode and a 10.4% share of the viewing audience at 9pm on Friday nights (based on consolidated viewing - taking account of time-shifted TV viewing over a seven day period). The series’ debut episode was Channel 4’s biggest drama launch in three years among young viewers (18.4% share of 16-34 year old viewers).
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.
The drama’s broadcast coincided with National HIV Testing Week (1st-7th of February) and data provided by HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, shows HIV tests being ordered at a faster rate than ever before. On the first day of National HIV Testing Week orders of HIV tests more than tripled compared to the charity’s previous biggest day of orders. Across the week over 17k orders of HIV tests were placed – more than double the number ordered during the previous National HIV Testing Week (8.2k).
The charity’s data shows that its helpline which provides support and advice around HIV and sexual health experienced 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 charity.
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.”
It’s a Sin is produced by RED Production Company. 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. The series has made a significant contribution to opening conversations about HIV, helping to address stigma.
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."
More information about It’s A Sin is available here.
*Based on viewing data from all All 4 owned and operated platforms to date plus Sky and Virgin data up to February 14th.
Notes to editors
About Terrence Higgins Trust
Terrence Higgins Trust is the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity, offering support, information and advice services for those living with HIV and affected by HIV or poor sexual health.
Our vision is a world where people with HIV live healthy lives free from prejudice and discrimination, and good sexual health is a right and reality for all.
The British HIV Association (BHIVA)
BHIVA is the leading UK association representing professionals in HIV care. Since 1995, we have been committed to providing excellent care for people living with and affected by HIV. BHIVA is a national advisory body on all aspects of HIV care and we provide a national platform for HIV care issues. Our representatives contribute to international, national and local committees dealing with HIV care. In addition, we promote undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education within HIV care. www.bhiva.org