‘It’s a Sin’ star Tracy-Ann Oberman says she once witnessed a friend’s parents burning their bed sheets after they had a gay friend stay at their house.

Tracy-Ann Oberman

Tracy-Ann Oberman

The 54-year-old actress stars as Carol Carter in the drama series which depicts the lives of gay men and their friends who lived during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the UK during the 1980s, and has now opened up on her own experience of having gay friends during that time.

Tracy-Ann recalled the “absolute stigma” and “fear” surrounding the LGBT community at the time, and said that after a group sleepover at a friend’s house, she witnessed their parents “burning all the sheets” and “burying the cutlery in the garden” because they were so “frightened” by the prospect of the disease.

She said: “I remember being a drama student, having a lot of gay friends. I remember that absolute fear ... and the absolute stigma of being gay and just the fear.

“We had one friend that came to stay - who was openly gay - at a friend's house. We had like a weekend and we caught the parents burning all the sheets and burying the cutlery in the garden after he left because they were so frightened.”

Tracy-Ann also revealed she was determined to take part in the series – which was written and created by Russell T Davies – even though she was in a theatre production when filming began.

She added: “I was getting off stage at 11 and getting into a taxi driving through the night up to Manchester and then getting on set, but when I read those scripts …

“I think Russell has captured how difficult it was. As the mothers and the fathers of those children - of those boys die out - those stories have will be forgotten, and I think he wanted to make sure people remembered the joy as well as the pain. And I think he did that.”

And the actress feels privileged to have been part of the show – which also stars Olly Alexander, Neil Patrick Harris, and Stephen Fry – as she praised the “phenomenal” feedback the series has received.

Speaking on the 'White Wine Question Time' podcast, she said: “There was so much cruelty in the eighties and early nineties about around it [AIDs] and that's why it's a brilliant series. There was so much shame around being gay - it was like, here's a plague that has come along that is dirty and dangerous and it sort of tapped into everybody's shame and fear of their own sexuality.

“The feedback, even for me, has been phenomenal. People wanting to talk about their memories and how they feel about it.

“I'd seen it originally, when it was first done, and then I saw it again on television and it just devastated me. It profoundly affected me; it really, really broke me. In some ways, it's hung over me, but what I think that people loved about it as well, was that sense of community of the Pink Palace, that sense of a group of friends that will love and accept and cherish each other.”