‘A Very English Scandal’ writer’s new 1980s drama begins filming

Production has begun on Channel 4’s new drama about the early years of the AIDS epidemic.

Set in the 1980s, Boys is written by award-winning Welsh screenwriter Russell T Davies (A Very English Scandal, The Grand).

The five-part mini-series will be “charting the joy and heartbreak of four friends during a decade in which everything changed.”

The official synopsis reads: “It’s 1981, 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.”

Olly Alexander (Ripper Street) will play 18-year-old golden boy Ritchie Tozer, Nathaniel Curtis plays faithful friend Ash, and Lydia West (Years and Years) plays Ritchie’s best mate Jill Baxter.

Singer Alexander 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.

“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 and Callum Scott Howells are playing London-born 17-year-old party boy Roscoe Babatunde and quiet Welsh boy Colin Morris-Jones.

Writer Russell T Davies previously commented: “I lived through those times, and it’s taken me decades to build up to this. And as time marches on, there’s a danger the story will be forgotten. So it’s an honour to write this for the ones we lost, and the ones who survived.”

Boys began filming in England last month and it’ll air on Channel 4 in the UK in 2020.

A Very English Scandal is available to watch on Amazon Prime.