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It's a Sin: the touching true story behind Jill

Have you been enjoying the Channel 4 show so far?

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Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
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It's a Sin has been a smash hit - and tells the story of a group of friends who are affected by the AIDS crisis in the 1980s after moving to London - but did you know that Jill is based on a real person? Find out more about the sweet story here... 

MORE: It's a Sin: meet the cast of the Channel 4 drama

The show's creator, Russell T. Davies, has revealed that Jill is actually based on his real-life close friend Jill Nalder, who incidentally plays Jill's mother in the show.

WATCH: Have you been watching It's a Sin?

Speaking to The Guardian about how much Jill means to him, Russell said: "We've known each other since we were 14, daft camp kids belonging to a wonderful youth theatre in West Glamorgan which was accidentally, brilliantly, the safest gay space imaginable.

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Lydia West plays Jill on the show

"As we grew up, I went to university, got a job, started to write, but Jill lived a bigger, better life. She went to London. Became an actor...  Jill met the crisis head-on. She stood at the heart of the storm. She went to the hospitals and the funerals and the marches. She held the hands of so many men. She lost them, and remembered them, and somehow kept going."

Jill herself opened up about her own experiences during the AIDS crisis, telling Gay Times: "You're taking a place, in a way, of a family member because you become that family together and just be there in a loving way." 

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In the show, Jill is a crucial member of the group as she offers help and support to her friends suffering from the AIDS crisis, while realising very early on there was a deadly disease and trying to find out as much about it as possible. 

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Jill is based on Russell's real-life friend Jill Nalder

Chatting to Grazia about the pressure of playing Russell's real-life pal, actress Lydia West explained: "Russell sent me a text the night before the read-through saying, 'Hey Lydia, I don't want to worry you, but I feel like I should tell you... This story is loosely based on my friend Jill. And Jill just happens to be playing your mother.'

"So [when I was at] the read through, I was looking over at Jill, making sure I'm saying the lines how she'd say them. But she was so kind, and it was even more special to be playing someone who is so close [to the story]."

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