Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander, Neil Patrick Harris and actress Keeley Hawes (Bodyguard) have been cast in a new gay-themed drama from Queer As Folk creator Russell T. Davies about Britain’s AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Omari Douglas, Callum Scott Howells, Stephen Fry, Tracy Ann Oberman, Shaun Dooley, and Lydia West co-star and were previously announced.
Reports Variety: ‘The five-part series starts filming next week, under director Peter Hoar (“The Last Kingdom”), and is expected to air on Britain’s Channel 4 in 2020. “Boys” is being produced by Nicola Shindler’s banner, Red, a unit of Studiocanal. The project has been gestating for some time. Davies, who is fresh off the critical success of the dystopian political drama “Years and Years,” said nearly five years ago that a story about Britain during the AIDS crisis had been “building up” within him.’
Deadline adds: “Boys follows the story of the 1980s, the story of AIDS, and the story of three boys, Ritchie, played by Alexander, Roscoe and Colin, across the decade. The young trio, strangers at first, leave home at 18 and head off to London in 1981 with hope and ambition and joy. However, they’re 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.”
Said Harris: “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.”