Channel 4 has announced a spectacular cast line up for Russell T Davies’ upcoming 5-part drama ‘Boys’ (working title), which includes Olly Alexander, Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris, Tracy Ann Oberman, Shaun Dooley, Omari Douglas, Callum Scott Howells and Lydia West.
Set in 1981, the start of a new decade and Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin begin a new life in London. Strangers at first, these young gay lads, and their best friend Jill find themselves thrown together, and soon share each other’s adventures. But a new virus is on the rise, and soon their lives will be tested in ways they never imagined. As the decade passes, and they grow up in the shadow of AIDS, they’re determined to live and love more fiercely than ever.
Olly Alexander, from band Years & Years, plays 18-year-old Ritchie Tozer, the family’s golden boy, though he’s determined to keep his secrets from them. He is joined by newcomer Omari Douglas plays London-born 17-year-old Roscoe Babatunde, a wild, brittle party boy, always on the run; Newcomer Callum Scott Howells plays Colin Morris-Jones, a quiet, unassuming, boy from Wales, about to become an apprentice on Savile Row; Newcomer Nathaniel Curtis plays Ash, a faithful friend through thick and thin. Lydia West, who starred in Davies’ BBC series Years & Years will play Jill Baxter, Ritchie’s friend from college, who is straight-talking, funny, and the rock on which they rely.
“I feel like the luckiest boy in the world to be a part of this project, I’ve been a fan of Russell T Davies ever since I watched Queer As Folk in secret at 14 years old,” commented Olly Alexander. “His work helped shape my identity as a gay person so I’m absolutely over the moon we’ll be working together. The script was amazing to read, I laughed and I cried a lot, it’s a privilege to be helping to tell this story and I’m so excited.”
The cast also includes Keeley Hawes (Honour, ‘Bodyguard, The Durrells) who plays Valerie, Ritchie’s mum, and Shaun Dooley (Gentleman Jack) who plays Clive, his dad. They are joined by Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) as Henry Coltrane, Stephen Fry as MP Arthur Garrison, and Tracy Ann Oberman as Carol Carter.
“I’m so pleased and incredibly proud, to be a part of Russell T Davies’ new series,” adds Neil Patrick Harris. “This drama, Boys, is two things: it is an irresistible, funny, jubilant story of young people discovering their true identities and the unalloyed joy of living life to the fullest, it is also a deeply resonant exploration of a decade when so many of these lives were cut short by the devastating effects of the nascent AIDS pandemic. Russell’s scripts chart the highs and lows of this time so beautifully and deftly, it’s an honour to help tell this story.”
The series is overseen at Channel 4 by Lee Mason, Commissioning Editor and Caroline Hollick, Head of Drama. RED Production Company (a STUDIOCANAL company) will produce the drama, and Nicola Shindler exec produces with Russell T Davies. Phil Collinson is producer. The series is directed by Peter Hoar.
‘Boys’ is the 10th collaboration between Russell T Davies and RED Production Company. The partnership is known for producing relevant, timely and emotionally charged dramas having previously created hit series including Queer As Folk’, ‘Casanova, ‘Cucumber Banana, ‘Bob & Rose’ and ‘The Second Coming.
Boys is expected in 2020 on Channel 4