Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry and Neil Patrick Harris join ’80s drama ‘Boys’

More big names have joined the cast of Channel 4’s new AIDS epidemic drama.

Created by A Very English Scandal writer Russell T Davies, Boys began filming in England last month.

The official synopsis for the five-part mini-series 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.”

The cast will be led by Olly Alexander (Ripper Street), Lydia West (Years and Years) and newcomers Nathaniel Curtis, Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells.

It’s now been announced that The Durrells star Keeley Hawes will be playing Ritchie’s mum, Valerie, alongside Shaun Dooley (Gentleman Jack) as his dad, Clive.

Stephen Fry (Wilde, Gosford Park) will also appear as Arthur Garrison, an MP, and Tracy Ann Oberman (Friday Night Dinner, EastEnders) is playing Carol Carter.

Joining these big British names is American actor Neil Patrick Harris, best known for his roles in How I Met Your Mother and Gone Girl, playing a character called Henry Coltrane.

Neil Patrick Harris commented: “I’m so pleased, and incredibly proud, to be a part of Russell T Davies’ new series. This drama, 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.”

He added: “Russell’s scripts chart the highs and lows of this time so beautifully and deftly, it’s an honour to help tell this story.”

Boys will air on Channel 4 in the UK next year.

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