Years & Years’ Olly Alexander has been announced as one of the leads of a new Channel 4 drama, Boys, which airs next year.
The five-part series is headed by acclaimed television writer and showrunner Russell T Davies (Queer As Folk, A Very English Scandal, Years and Years, Doctor Who).
Alexander will star as Ritchie Tozer, who’s part of a tight-knit group of gay friends starting new lives in London in the ’80s, during the AIDS crisis. Newcomers Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells play Roscoe Babatunde and Colin Morris-Jones respectively, while Lydia West – who appeared in Davies’ 2019 BBC-HBO drama, the coincidentally-titled Years and Years – plays Ritchie’s college friend Jill Baxter.
The cast of Boys also includes Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris, Tracy Ann Oberman, Shaun Dooley and Nathaniel Curtis.
“It’s 1981, the start of a new decade and Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin begin a new life in London,” Boys’ official synopsis reads. “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.”
“I feel like the luckiest boy in the world to be a part of this project,” Alexander said in an official statement. “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.”
On social media, the musician could hardly contain his excitement. “it’s really really really REALLY AMAZING i wish i could tell you what happens but you’ll just have to wait and see,” Alexander wrote on Instagram, where he shared a photo of the main cast with Davies. “I can’t believe this is happening and with such an amazing group of people yay i’m excited i can post about it from now on.”
He also expressed his apprehensions about returning to acting. “Filming starts on Monday and I really hope I remember how to act! … lol actor Olly begin initiation sequence!!!… happy 🙂 but a bit scared.” See Alexander’s full post below.
View this post on Instagram
AGGHH SO I HAVE SOME COOL NEWS ……meet my new family for the next few months…. IM SO EXCITED to be a part of “Boys” !!!!!!!!!!!! an original five part series by the incredible @russelltdavies63 for @channel4 , filming starts on monday and i really hope i remember how to act ! the show is about a group of friends and their loves and lives and it takes place in the 80’s and …. …: it’s really really really REALLY AMAZING i wish i could tell you what happens but you’ll just have to wait and see 🙂 i can’t believe this is happening and with such an amazing group of people yay i’m excited i can post about it from now on :-)))))) lol actor olly begin initiation sequence !!! here we goooooo💜💙💛💜💙💛#Boys #SometimesAGirlJustNeedsOne happy 🙂 but a bit scared :)))))))) eeeeeeeeee
On the music front, Alexander recently featured on Pet Shop Boys’ new single, ‘Dreamland’, and performed the song live with them at Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park. Years & Years’ last album was 2018’s ‘Palo Santo’.