Years and Years and Years and Years - pop frontman to star with Keeley Hawes in new Russell T Davies drama

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Olly Alexander, Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells will star in Russell T Davies's drama Boys - Ben Blackall 2017
Olly Alexander, Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells will star in Russell T Davies's drama Boys - Ben Blackall 2017

It could  be the most confusing casting choice in many years, but Russell T Davies, most recently the writer of BBC1's drama Years and Years, has cast the singer of the band Years & Years in his new Eighties-set Channel 4 drama, Boys. 

29-year-old Olly Alexander, frontman of the hugely successful synthpop band, will play 18-year-old Ritchie Tozer, one of a trio of young gay men beginning a new life in London in 1981. Alexander already has a successful acting career behind him, with appearances in films Bright Star, The Riot Club and Tormented. He appeared in the final series of Skins, and in 2013 appeared at the Noel Coward Theatre alongside Dame Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw in John Logan's play Peter and Alice, as Peter Pan.

About his new role in Boys, Alexander says: "I feel like the luckiest boy in the world to be a part of this project, Ive 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 Im absolutely over the moon well be working together. The script was amazing to read, I laughed and I cried a lot, its a privilege to be helping to tell this story and Im so excited."

Davies, the showrunner for Doctor Who's comeback, has been the key chronicler of contemporary gay Britain with the drama series Queer As Folk, Bob & Rose, Cucumber, Banana and Tofu, and Boys will focus on three young men growing up in the shadow of Aids.   

Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin (played by newcomers Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells) are living in London and with their best friend Jill, find themselves thrown together, and soon share each others 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, theyre determined to live and love more fiercely than ever.

Keeley Hawes will play Ritchie's mother Valerie in Boys - Credit: Andrew Crowley
Keeley Hawes will play Ritchie's mother Valerie in Boys Credit: Andrew Crowley

There's a stellar cast alongside the three male leads, with Keeley Hawes playing Ritchie's mother Valerie, Shaun Dooley as his father, with appearances from Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris and Tracy Ann Oberman. Boys begins filming next week and the series will air on Channel 4 in 2020.

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