Russell T Davies sparks fierce backlash insisting straight actors shouldn't be allowed to play gay characters

RUSSELL T Davies has sparked fierce backlash after insisting straight actors shouldn't be allowed to play gay characters.

The acclaimed writer behind shows including Queer as Folk and A Very English Scandal recently spoke to the Radio Times about his new drama, It's A Sin.

Russell, 57, cast gay actors in the lead roles for the series, which follows three gay men who arrive in London in 1981, at start of HIV epidemic.

The cast includes Years & Years singer Olly Alexander, Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Fry.

The former Doctor Who boss told the publication his decision to cast gay men in gay roles was a crucial one, and said: "I'm not being woke about this but I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story, I am casting them to act as a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint.

"They are not there to 'act gay' because 'acting gay' is a bunch of codes for a performance."

He added: "You wouldn't cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn't black someone up."

His latest comments come despite the fact he has previously cast many straight actors in gay roles including Hugh Grant in A Very English Scandal, Alan Davies in Bob & Rose and all three lead cast members in Queer as Folk.

It immediately sparked backlash on social media, with many commenting on how, if the scenario was reversed and gay actors were never cast in straight roles, there would be outrage.

One wrote on Twitter: "Only heterosexuals should be allowed to play straight roles… Imagine the ultra wokes response if this was said!! #RussellTDavies We are becoming even more divisive, led largely by those who claim to be progressive!"

Another added: "Presumably this cuts both ways? No of course not because that would be homophobic. @russelldavies63 you are clearly heterophobic, or at the very least a hypocrite!"

A third tweeted: "My genuine puzzlement with #RussellTDavies argument, that the gulf between the experience of gay and straight people is so great that a straight actor cannot play a gay role, is that the obvious corollary is that gay actors can no longer play straight roles. Bit harsh."

Outspoken actor Laurence Fox also chipped in to the debate, tweeting: "The clue is in the word “acting”".

It's A Sin begins on Friday, January 22 at 9pm on Channel 4.

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