Casting has been announced on writer Russell T Davies’ new 5-part drama for Channel 4, Boys (working title) which will be produced by RED Production Company.
Set in 1981, the drama surrounds three young gay men thrown together when they move to London. The show follows the friends’ adventures as they grow up in the shadow of AIDS.
Olly Alexander, from the band Years & Years, plays 18-year-old Ritchie Tozer, ”the family’s golden boy, though 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 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: “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. The series is overseen at Channel 4 by Lee Mason, Commissioning Editor and Caroline Hollick, Head of Drama. The series will be produced by RED Production Company (a STUDIOCANAL company) and executive produced by Nicola Shindler (Years and Years, Safe, Happy Valley, Queer As Folk, Cucumber) and Russell T Davies (Years and Years, Queer As Folk, A Very English Scandal, Doctor Who, Cucumber). Phil Collinson (Gentleman Jack, Good Omens, Doctor Who) is producer. The series is directed by Peter Hoar (Umbrella Academy, The Last Kingdom, Da Vinci’s Demons). Boys is the 10th collaboration between Russell T Davies and RED Production Company. The partnership’s dramas include Queer As Folk, Casanova, Cucumber, Banana, Bob & Rose and The Second Coming. All3media International are global partner.
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