Olly Alexander, Keeley Hawes, Neil Patrick Harris star in Russell T Davies’ The Boys
Staff Reporter | On 05, Oct 2019Reading time: 4 mins
Olly Alexander, from the band Years & Years, will lead a star-studded cast in Russell T Davies’ new Channel 4 series, The Boys.
The five-part drama, which will be produced by RED Production Company (a STUDIOCANAL company), picks up in 1981, the start of a new decade, as 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.
Alexander plays 18-year-old Ritchie Tozer, the family’s golden boy, although he’s determined to keep his secrets from them. 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.
Lydia West (Years and Years) plays Jill Baxter, Ritchie’s friend from college, straight-talking, funny, and the rock on which they rely.
Nathaniel Curtis plays Ash, a faithful friend through thick and thin.
The cast also includes Keeley Hawes (Honour, Bodyguard, The Durrells, Line of Duty), who plays Valerie, Ritchie’s mum, Shaun Dooley (Gentleman Jack, Broadchurch, Woman in Black) who plays Clive, his dad, Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, Gone Girl, A Series of Unfortunate Events) as Henry Coltrane, Stephen Fry (Wilde, Gosford Park, Bones) as MP Arthur Garrison, and Tracy Ann Oberman (Friday Night Dinner, Toast of London, After Life) as Carol Carter.
Olly Alexander says: “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 adds: “I’m so pleased, and incredibly proud, to be a part of Russell T Davies’ new series. 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.”
Filming begins next week and the series will air on Channel 4 in 2020.
Russell T Davies returns to Channel 4 with The Boys
27th August 2018
Russell T Davies (Queer As Folk, A Very English Scandal, Cucumber) is returning to Channel 4 for new series The Boys.
The five-part drama will follow the story of the 1980s, the story of AIDS, and the story of three boys, Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin, across the decade. Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin are young lads, strangers at first, leaving home at 18 and heading off to London in 1981 with hope and ambition and joy… and walking straight into a plague that most of the world ignores. Year by year, episode by episode, their lives change, as the mystery of a new virus starts as a rumour, then a threat, then a terror, and then something that binds them together in the fight.
It’s the story of their friends, lovers and families too, especially Jill, the girl who loves them and helps them, and galvanises them in the battles to come. Together, they will endure the horror of the epidemic, the pain of rejection and the prejudices that gay men faced throughout the decade.
“I lived through those times, and it’s taken me decades to build up to this,” says Davies. “And as time marches on, there’s a danger the story will be forgotten. So it’s an honour to write this for the ones we lost, and the ones who survived.”
The Boys will go into production in 2019 and has been commissioned by Beth Willis, Head of Drama at Channel 4, Lee Mason Commissioning Editor and Jonny Richards, Commissioning Executive.
Lee Mason, Commissioning Editor, Channel 4 adds: “Nearly 20 years after the glorious Queer as Folk left an indelible mark on British TV and changed the pop culture landscape forever, I am thrilled Russell is back on Channel 4 with The Boys. It’s an incredibly important project that feels just as landmark, just as uncompromising, and just as heartfelt.”
Nicola Shindler, founder and executive producer of RED Production Company, comments: “I’m thrilled to be working with Channel 4 and Russell again on this incredibly poignant and enthralling story. It’s full of what we’ve come to expect from Russell – a powerful but heart-warming story that highlights both the emotional fragility and strength of human nature, delivered through engaging and complex characters. The 1980’s AIDS epidemic was a deadly and uncertain period of time, and The Boys tells the human story behind the headlines.”