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Channel 4 announces hard-hitting Aids drama ‘The Boys’ from ‘Queer as Folk’ writer Russell T Davies

The five-part series will chart the lives of the three young men in 1980 London.

By Will Stroude

Channel 4 has announced a hard-hitting new drama series from Queer as Folk writer Russell T Davies which is set to explore the horror of the Aids crisis.

The Boys is a five-part drama following the story of three boys, Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin, who move to London in the early 1980s.

According to an official synopsis “the young trio, strangers at first, leave home at 18 and head off to London in 1981 with hope and ambition and joy. However, they’re walking straight into a plague that most of the world ignores.

“Year by year, episode by episode, their lives change, as the mystery of a new virus starts as a rumour, then a threat, then a terror, and then something that binds them together in the fight.

“It’s the story of their friends, lovers and families too, especially Jill, the girl who loves them and helps them, and galvanises them in the battles to come.

“Together they will endure the horror of the epidemic, the pain of rejection and the prejudices that gay men faced throughout the decade.”

“There are terrible losses and wonderful friendships. And complex families, pushed to the limit and beyond. This is a series that remembers the boys we lost, and celebrates those lives that burned so brightly.”

Davies, whose last LGBT-centric show for Channel 4 came three and half years ago in the form of divisive comedy-drama Cucumber, teased as far back as 2015 that a show addressing the impact of Aids on the gay community was in the pipeline.

In a statement, the former Doctor Who writer, who will also serve as exectuvie producer on The Boys, said: “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.

“It’s an honour to write this for the ones we lost, and the ones who survived.”

Channel 4’s commissioning editor for drama, Lee Mason, said: “Nearly 20 years after the glorious Queer as Folk left an indelible mark on British TV and changed the pop culture landscape forever, I am thrilled Russell is back on Channel 4 with The Boys.

“It’s an incredibly important project that feels just as landmark, just as uncompromising, and just as heartfelt.”

Executive producer Nicola Shindler added: “I’m thrilled to be working with Channel 4 and Russell again on this incredibly poignant and enthralling story.

“It’s full of what we’ve come to expect from Russell – a powerful but heart-warming story that highlights both the emotional fragility and strength of human nature, delivered through engaging and complex characters.

“The 1980’s Aids epidemic was a deadly and uncertain period of time, and The Boys tells the human story behind the headlines.”

The Boys is set to go into production in 2019.

Words: Will Stroude