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Olly Alexander to star in Russell T Davies’ series Boys
Via Instagram @ollyyears

Olly Alexander is set to star in a 1980s Aids drama

The Years & Years singer is making his return to acting in Russell T Davies’ upcoming series, Boys

Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander is set to swap Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage for the small screen as he returns to acting in Russell T Davies’ upcoming series, Boys.

The musician will play Ritchie Tozer, an 18-year-old gay man starting a new life in London in 1981, arriving at the beginning of the UK’s Aids crisis. 

“I feel like the luckiest boy in the world to be a part of this project,” Alexander said in a 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 five-part series will follow Alexander’s character – the “golden boy” keeping secrets from his family – along with his new friends, 17-year-old party lad Roscoe Babatunde (Omari Douglas), quiet and unassuming Welsh boy Colin Morris-Jones (Callum Scott Howells), and straight-talking Jill Baxter (Lydia West) as they grow up “in the shadow of Aids”.

“The script was amazing to read,” continued Alexander, “I laughed and I cried a lot, it’s a privilege to be helping to tell this story and I’m so excited.”

Also joining the cast are Keeley Hawes and Shaun Dooley as Ritchie’s parents, Neil Patrick Harris portraying Henry Coltrane, Steven Fry starring as MP Arthur Garrison, and Tracy Ann Oberman, who plays Carol Carter.

Filming for Boys will begin this week, with the series set to air on Channel 4 in 2020.

This is Alexander’s first big role since climbing the charts with Years & Years, though he previously starred in 2013’s Skins Pure, and The Riot Club (2014), as well as a number of earlier films. The role is a perfect fit for the artist who has always been a vocal champion of LGBTQ+ rights, making a powerful Pride speech at Glastonbury 2016, and exploring gay mental health in his 2017 documentary, Olly Alexander: Growing Up Gay.

If you can’t wait until 2020 to see more of Alexander, look back at our profile with the actor and musician here.