Jill Nalder was the real-life inspiration behind Jill Baxter (Picture: Channel 4)
Russell T Davies’ Channel 4 smash-hit It’s A Sin is based on some of the writers real-life friends and experiences during the Aids epidemic, with Jill one of the most stand-out characters of all.
A fiercely strong ally and even more loyal friend, Jill (played by Lydia West) helped all her pals in their time of need, as lives were irrevocably changed by the spread of HIV and Aids.
It’s since been revealed that Jill is actually based on a real-life woman, named Jill Nalder, and she appears on the series during some of the most vital scenes – playing Jill’s devoted and supportive mother.
Speaking on Virgin Radio today, Lydia revealed what it was like to play a woman who was standing beside her for some of the show’s most noteworthy scenes.
She told Graham Norton: ‘[Davies] sent me a message saying the show was very loosely based about his life and his friends’ lives, and that the real Jill was playing my mother.
‘He said, “I don’t want you to do anything differently, or analyse her or try and mimic it in any way.”
Jill (right) and her pals have their lives changed forever as Aids takes hold in the UK (Picture: Channel 4)
‘Then I met her at the read-through and she was just everything that I hoped she would be. She’s absolutely gorgeous and stunning.
‘It was very emotional. I couldn’t look at her throughout the read, I was looking down for it.’
Real Jill appears in episodes four and five of the show – joining in on the protest to get more treatment for Aids patients, and to be there for her daughter when she starts losing her friends and the virus starts getting too close to home.
Olly Alexander, who plays party-loving Richie in the series, added that some of the scenes were particularly hard to shoot.
Jill Nalder plays Jill’s mum in the series – and even joins in on the protests (Picture: Channel 4)
‘On the day we all met at the read-through for the show, we were all in tears reading it. Then while rehearsing it and filming it too! It was quite emotional,’ Olly said.
‘I think we tried to have as much fun as we could by getting really into the eighties spirit, dancing and celebrating,’ Lydia added.
‘Then when it was time to do the scenes, especially the scenes in some of the wards which were absolutely harrowing and emotional.’
For anyone who hasn’t watched it yet, you should get on it now – and have tissues at the ready because it’s a tearjerker.
It’s A Sin airs Friday at 9pm on Channel 4 and is available in full on Channel 4 On Demand now.