Olly Alexander leads star-studded cast of Russell T Davies’ 1980s-set drama Boys

Olly Alexander, Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells

Olly Alexander will lead the star-studded cast of the new Channel 4 series Boys, the story of three young, gay men in London during the AIDS crisis.

The five-part series was written by multi-BAFTA Award-winning writer Russell T Davies (Queer as Folk, A Very English Scandal) and the story begins when Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin move to London in 1981, the beginning of the AIDS crisis.

Alexander will play one of the protagonists, 18-year-old Ritchie Tozer, who is his family’s golden boy and is determined to keep his orientation a secret from them.

Roscoe and Colin will be played by newcomers Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells.

Although they are strangers at first, they are thrown together and their adventures throughout the decade take place under the shadow of the new virus. 

Other famous faces in the cast include Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris, Keeley Hawes and Tracy Ann Oberman.

Russell T Davies

The five-part series was written by Russell T Davies. (Channel 4)

Olly Alexander said Russell T Davies helped shape his identity as a gay person.

Alexander said: “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.

“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.”

Neil Patrick Harris said Boys was “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”.

He added: “Russell’s scripts chart the highs and lows of this time so beautifully and deftly, it’s an honour to help tell this story.”
Filming begins next week, and the series will hit screens in 2020.