It’s a Sin’s Lydia West has met the real-life Jill - and she’s ‘fascinating’

Did you spot her in the show?

Main characters from It's a Sin drama series
(Image credit: Channel 4)

It’s a Sin’s Lydia West brilliantly brings the character of Jill to life in the hit drama series. Jill is part of the wider story, which follows a group of young gay men who move to London, only to find their plans and lives forever changed by the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The show balances deeply heartbreaking and joyful moments, celebrating the friendship that binds the characters together. If that isn’t enough to get you wondering how to watch It’s a Sin online, then perhaps some behind-the-scenes revelations from Jill’s actor Lydia West will.

Whilst the hit show is fictional, its creator Russell T Davies, who is perhaps best known for Doctor Who, is understood to have drawn some inspiration from his own experiences as a gay man living in the city in the 80s. 

More than that, it has been suggested that some of the characters have been influenced by people he once knew. 

Several characters may have been inspired by real-life figures, but it seems that Lydia was actually able to meet the real Jill on set - and she even gave her some advice...

When did It’s a Sin’s Lydia West meet Jill in real life?

In It's a Sin, Jill is a friend of Ritchie (played by Years & Years singer Olly Alexander), but Jill exists in real-life too. In an interview for ELLE UK's series, My Life In Culture, ahead of the drama launching, Lydia discussed the moment she met the real Jill - and the role that real Jill played in the show. 

It’s been revealed that Jill is actually one of show creator Russell T Davies’ good friends. 

“[Davies] said: ‘Her name's Jill Nalder and she will be playing the part of your mum in the show’,” Lydia reportedly disclosed. 

“I just felt so honoured firstly to be even just involved in the project. But also, playing someone who is in the room with me and playing my mum, it's just special."

The actor then went on to explain that: “Jill is the most interesting woman. She has so many anecdotes about the time, their friendship group and all living together in the Pink Palace in real life.”

“Real life Jill embodies everything about the character Jill - she's just beautiful and fascinating,” Lydia shared.

What does Lydia West hope people will take away from It’s a Sin?

It’s a Sin has been praised for the way it portrays the compassion and vibrancy of the '80s gay scene, and also for the way it highlights the shameful way that the gay community was treated following the HIV/AIDS epidemic. 

The heart-wrenching moments appear alongside humor, friendship and joy, creating a captivating viewing experience. In her interview with ELLE UK, Lydia West also touched on the way the show depicts the different aspects of the era.

“I want people to take away from the show that it obviously was a dreadful, traumatising time to live in. But it was also one of the most fun, free liberating, everything from fashion to music to culture,” she said.

“I was so happy to be immersed in such an authentic way into that era through work.”

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.

Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.

In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for

After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!