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Elton John talks to Olly Alexander as he praises It’s A Sin

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Elton John has praised Russell T Davies’ groundbreaking Channel 4 series It’s A Sin as one of the ‘best things’ he’s ever seen on television.

The legendary singer, 73, spoke to actor Olly Alexander, who plays Ritchie Tozer on the programme, on his podcast and radio show Rocket Hour on Apple Music 1.

During the chat, Elton admitted that Olly’s, 30, character Ritchie reminded him of himself in the 70s and joked he was a ‘very naughty boy’ during that time era.

Praise: Elton John has praised Russell T Davies' groundbreaking Channel 4 series It's A Sin as one of the 'best things' he's ever seen on television

Praise: Elton John has praised Russell T Davies’ groundbreaking Channel 4 series It’s A Sin as one of the ‘best things’ he’s ever seen on television

It’s A Sin follows a group of friends throughout the eighties as their life of hedonistic partying is infiltrated by the emergence of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Olly plays Ritchie, an 18-year-old hailing from an ignorant, unloving household on the Isle of Wight who throws himself headfirst into London life, soon befriending Jill and three others and renting their flat, lovingly dubbed The Pink Palace. 

Talking about his role, Elton noted that Olly appeared to have similarities to his own character on the show.

To which the singer said: ‘We’re similar! We share a lot of similarities – [at] 18 I moved to London, that’s what I did to make a name for myself. I wanted to be an actor, I wanted to be a musician, and I really related to that with Ritchie straight away.’

Interview: The legendary singer, 73, spoke to actor Olly Alexander, who plays Ritchie Tozer on the programme, on his podcast and radio show Rocket Hour on Apple Music 1

Interview: The legendary singer, 73, spoke to actor Olly Alexander, who plays Ritchie Tozer on the programme, on his podcast and radio show Rocket Hour on Apple Music 1

Character: During the chat, Elton admitted that Olly's, 30, character Ritchie reminded him of himself in the 70s and joked he was a 'very naughty boy' during that time era

Character: During the chat, Elton admitted that Olly’s, 30, character Ritchie reminded him of himself in the 70s and joked he was a ‘very naughty boy’ during that time era 

To which Elton admitted: ‘Well, it reminded me of myself in the ’70s. I was a very naughty boy and I had so much fun and I didn’t care what I got up to. 

‘You have so much life in you, no matter what you do, whether you’re making music, whether you’re acting, you have this great spirit, which sends out so much positivity.

‘I love the essence of what you represent. It really touches me, I love people with that kind of positivity.’ 

Elton also revealed that Callum Scott Howells’ character Colin Morris-Jones on the show also reminded him of himself when younger.  

Premise: It's A Sin follows a group of friends throughout the eighties as their life of hedonistic partying is infiltrated by the emergence of the HIV/AIDS pandemic

Premise: It’s A Sin follows a group of friends throughout the eighties as their life of hedonistic partying is infiltrated by the emergence of the HIV/AIDS pandemic  

In It’s A Sin, Callum plays Colin, who is a naive South Wales valleys lad who arrives in London for life as a Savile Row tailor’s apprentice.

Elton said: ‘I fell in love with Colin because he reminded me of me when I was young. And he’s very funny.

‘David [Elton’s husband] talked to him and he said, “Oh my God, David Furnish you are such a legend.” It’s so funny.’

To which Olly replied: ‘Everything that comes out of his mouth is hysterical. He’s such a little star. Oh my gosh.’ with Elton adding: ‘I love him!’

Reflective: Elton said of Olly's character: 'Well, it reminded me of myself in the '70s. I was a very naughty boy and I had so much fun and I didn't care what I got up to.' (pictured in 1974)

Reflective: Elton said of Olly’s character: ‘Well, it reminded me of myself in the ’70s. I was a very naughty boy and I had so much fun and I didn’t care what I got up to.’ (pictured in 1974)

Elton went on to praise the series as one of the ‘best things’ he has ever watched on TV and he wants to invite the entire cast over for dinner when it is safe to do so amid the coronavirus crisis. 

He said: ‘I have to say, being a gay man and having lived through that time, this is probably one of the best things I’ve seen on television, ever!

‘For those of you who haven’t seen it, you must see it, it will have a lasting impact.’

He added: ‘I find you [Olly] inspirational and I told you when I called you, and we both share the same record label by the way, I talked to them and they talked about you, from the word go, how great you are. 

Breakout star: Elton also revealed that Callum Scott Howells' character Colin Morris-Jones, pictured, on the show also reminded him of himself when younger

Elton said: ' I fell in love with Colin because he reminded me of me when I was young. And he's very funny.' (Colin actor Callum pictured)

Breakout star: Elton also revealed that Callum Scott Howells’, right, character Colin Morris-Jones, left, on the show also reminded him of himself when younger 

‘I told you when I called you, when this COVID thing has calmed down I’m going to have all of you guys down for a dinner and we’re going to have the best time!’  

Elton also revealed that he rung It’s A Sin writer Russell T Davies after watching the show. 

He said: ‘Russell T Davies is such an amazing writer, as you say. After I saw the programme I rang him up, because whenever I see something or hear something by someone that I think is great, I always try and get in contact. 

‘And when I talked to him, it was just like I’d known him for a long time. He said, “Two of the most famous gay people in Britain that never talked.” 

Funny: He said: 'David [Elton's husband] talked to him [Colin] and he said, "Oh my God, David Furnish you are such a legend." It's so funny.' (Elton and David pictured in 2019)

Funny: He said: ‘David [Elton’s husband] talked to him [Colin] and he said, “Oh my God, David Furnish you are such a legend.” It’s so funny.’ (Elton and David pictured in 2019) 

‘And we had a good old laugh and a good conversation. And then I rang all the younger members of the cast up because they are such a brilliant cast.’

Elsewhere during the chat, the legendary singer compared Olly’s personality to late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991 at the age of 45 due to complications with AIDS.

Reflecting on his funeral, Elton admitted that he ‘misses’ Mercury every day due to his ‘positive’ and ‘full of energy’ persona.

He said: ‘Who Wants To Live Forever, sung of course by Freddie Mercury, who died of AIDS. I was at the funeral and it was one of the most upsetting occasions of my life because the whole funeral was in Farsi, because Freddie was Persian. 

Sweet: Elton also revealed that he rung It's A Sin writer Russell T Davies after watching the show

Sweet: Elton also revealed that he rung It’s A Sin writer Russell T Davies after watching the show 

‘So nobody understood a whole word of what was going on … It was a surreal experience. 

‘I miss him every day because he was such, a bit like you [Olly], positive, full of life, full of energy, hilariously funny, and what a talent.’

During the interview, Olly chose to play the late SOPHIE’s It’s Okay To Cry. The Grammy-nominated trans icon and musician passed away in January aged 34 following a ‘terrible accident’ while living in Athens. 

Talking about Sophie Xeon’s tragic death, Elton said: ‘You’ve chosen [to play a track by] SOPHIE, who unfortunately just passed away… and it’s a tragedy because she was just beginning to make a real name for herself. 

Legend: Elsewhere during the chat, the legendary singer compared Olly's personality to late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991 at the age of 45 due to complications with AIDS (pictured in 1985)

Legend: Elsewhere during the chat, the legendary singer compared Olly’s personality to late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991 at the age of 45 due to complications with AIDS (pictured in 1985) 

‘And it was interesting that the posts came from Christine and the Queens, yourself, when she died. This is a track called It’s Okay To Cry. When did you first hear her?’

To which Olly revealed: ‘I remember Lemonade coming out a long time ago, that was one of her early releases, and no one really knew who SOPHIE was and she was this mysterious kind of moniker. 

‘And then over the years I met her a couple of times and I just really think she was so hugely influential for pop culture really, and all the artists she collaborated with, everybody wanted to work with her.’

With Elton agreeing: ‘You’re right and she had her own Grammy-nominated album, which this song is from. 

‘I love this song, but it’s such a shame that we can’t see what she would have gone on to do in the future because we know it would have been incredible, but I just want to honour her and huge respect to her. She was way ahead of her time.’

Tragic: During the interview, Olly chose to play the late SOPHIE's It's Okay To Cry. The Grammy-nominated trans icon and musician passed away in January aged 34 following a 'terrible accident' while living in Athens

Tragic: During the interview, Olly chose to play the late SOPHIE’s It’s Okay To Cry. The Grammy-nominated trans icon and musician passed away in January aged 34 following a ‘terrible accident’ while living in Athens 

It’s A Sin has already had 6.5 million views on All 4, making it the streaming services’ biggest ever instant box set, third biggest series to date and most binged new series ever. 

Starring Years & Years frontman Olly alongside a cast of rising stars and celebrated favourites including Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry and Neil Patrick Harris, It’s a Sin has been universally praised by fans.

Russell T Davies, the writer and producer behind Queer As Folk, the 2005 revival of Doctor Who and Cucumber, loosely based It’s A Sin on his own experiences in the eighties.

He also spent hours in conversation with his childhood friend Jill Nalder, an actor, ally and activist who lived in London during the decade and is played by Lydia West in the drama. The real-life Jill also appears, playing Lydia’s mother in episodes four and five.

You can listen to the full interview on Saturday at 5pm GMT on Elton John’s Rocket Hour or listen back on-demand at Apple Music 1.     

Watch all five episodes of It’s A Sin on All4 now. It will also be available on HBO Max this month. 

Inspired: Russell T Davies spent hours in conversation with his childhood friend Jill Nalder, ally and activist who lived in London during the decade and is played by Lydia West in the drama

Inspired: Russell T Davies spent hours in conversation with his childhood friend Jill Nalder, ally and activist who lived in London during the decade and is played by Lydia West in the drama

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