It needs to be said: Jill is the hero of It’s A Sin and here’s why

She’s the true ally we all need

Jill from It’s A Sin is the true ally we all need and should try to be, and it’s an undisputed fact she’s the absolute hero of the show.

You fall in love with Jill from the first moment you see her on It’s A Sin. She notices Ritchie checking out Ash and immediately is on board, becoming best mates with them both and trying to set them up. Then when they try to have sex for the first time and it goes wrong, Ritchie leaves and goes to the only person he feels safe with – Jill. Every single person needs a best friend you can go to no matter what’s happened, who will listen without judgement and simply hug you as you cry, like Jill does.

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Jill’s allyship only becomes stronger as the series goes on. She spends the second episode caring for Gloria, and sticks to her promise to keep his illness a secret from their friends. Even though at that point she doesn’t know what AIDS is, whilst others shy away from those who are ill she faces it head-on, knowing she has to do their best to support her friend.

She cares for Colin, Ritchie, and countless other people who are victims of the AIDS crisis. She researches an illness everyone else refuses to speak about; organises protests; campaigns with charities; and goes to the funerals of those who have no one else to go. Jill is selfless and loving and works tirelessly to help spread awareness of HIV/AIDS, and look after those in need.

Not to mention, she’s a rock to all her friends, a voice of calm and reason. Jill is incredibly strong and doesn’t even bat an eyelid when police come to break up a peaceful protest, pull out batons and start arresting people.

jill it's a sin

But as well as showing incredibly important and moving issues, It’s A Sin is filled with moments of joy, and Jill brings many of those. She dances with her friends, sings duets with Ritchie, and brings laughter to the Pink Palace. And, uh, she somehow manages to make a pair of Marigolds look cool.

Plus, Jill was a real person. She’s not just some angelic character written by an idealistic TV writer, the real Jill did much of the same things as the It’s A Sin character named after her, proving it’s so possible for everyone to be like her.

Real-life Jill, Jill Nalder, played Jill’s mum in It’s A Sin. She has spoken about the “fear, secrecy and shame” of the AIDS epidemic, and the homophobia gay men had to endure. Real Jill said she was “constantly helping friends”, taking them to hospital appointments and otherwise caring for them.

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Jill Nalder, playing the mother of It’s A Sin character Jill

She helped put on events that raised millions of pounds for AIDS-related causes, and has said that It’s A Sin is “so important because it is real history that needs to be told” – those who lived during the AIDS crisis “deserve to be remembered with pride”.

They do. It’s A Sin has given us what school and all other TV shows have never: A frank and honest portrayal of LGBTQ+ history. Over 32 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic, but our remembrance is pitiful. It’s A Sin has highlighted how little we all knew, but now we have no excuse not to know about it. 40 years on from the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, It’s A Sin has urged the world to finally start paying attention.

Just like her namesake real-life Jill, Jill in It’s A Sin shows us the importance of allyship and standing up for what’s right. There’s a Twitter hashtag #BeMoreJill, and I cannot sum it up any better than that. We all need to be more like Jill.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

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• Meet Callum Scott Howells, the 21-year-old Welsh grad who stars as Colin in It’s A Sin

• Which It’s A Sin character are you? Take this quiz to find out

Finished It’s A Sin? Watch these films, docs and series to learn more about LGBT+ history

Featured image via Channel 4