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Olly Alexander leads the cast of new Channel 4 drama Boys

He’ll play 18-year-old Ritchie Tozer in Russell T Davies’ new five-part drama set in the 1980s.

Boys charts the joy and heartbreak of four friends during a decade in which everything changed.

The story begins in 1981 at 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.

Ritchie Tozer, the family’s golden boy, though he’s determined to keep his secrets from them. Playing his mother Valerie will be Keeley Hawes and playing his father Clive will be Shaun Dooley.

Olly Alexander, best-known for being the lead singer of pop band Years & Years 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.“

He went on to say “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.”

Newcomers Omari Douglas, Callum Scott Howells and Nathaniel Curtis will play Roscoe Babatunde, Colin Morris-Jones and Ash.

Roscoe is 17, born in London he’s a wild, brittle party boy, always on the run whilst Colin is a quiet, unassuming boy from Wales who’s about to become an apprentice on Savile Row. And Ash is their faithful friend, there through thick and thin.

Lydia West who starred in Russell’s Years & Years earlier this year will play JiRitchie’s friend from college, Jill Bacter. Straight-talking and funny, she’s the rock on which they rely.

The series will also star Stephen Fry as MP Arthur Garrison, Tracy Ann Oberman as Carol Carter and Neil Patrick Harris as Henry Coltrane.

Speaking about joining the series, Neil 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."

He went on to add "Russell’s scripts chart the highs and lows of this time so beautifully and deftly, it’s an honour to help tell this story.”

Boys will air in 2020 on Channel 4


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