Years & Years singer Olly Alexander is returning to acting in an extremely gay new project. Alexander will join Stephen Fry and Neil Patrick Harris in Boys, a new series set during the 1980s AIDS crisis from Queer as Folk creator Russell T Davies.
The five-part series will air on Channel 4 in the UK in 2020, following three young queer men in London throughout the '80s as AIDS becomes a terrifying reality of gay life.
According toVariety, Davies has had this project in the works for at least five years. "It's the kind of story that you think has been told, but then you realize it hasn't been told in Britain," he told the publication in 2015. "I am amazed that I haven't written this before - I am amazed no one has. I think we are reaching a bit of a generational thing now where men like me in their 50s are looking back and realizing how shocking it was."
Alexander told Variety that he's "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."
Harris added that 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."
Alexander will play Ritchie, an 18-year-old who discovers queerness with his friends Roscoe (Omari Douglas) and Colin (Callum Scott Howells). This will be the singer's latest foray into acting: in the past, he's appeared in cult British teen drama Skins and 2014 film The Riot Club.
Boys is one of the many projects Davies has in the air, between HBO drama Years & Years and the upcoming Queer as Folk reboot.