The How I Met Your Mother star is cast alongside Olly Alexander (Penny Dreadful), who leads the cast, Bodyguard’s Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry, Tracy Ann Oberman, Shaun Dooley, Omari Douglas, Callum Scott Howells and Lydia West.
The five-part series, which was announced at the Edinburgh International TV Festival in 2018, charts the joy and heartbreak of four friends during a decade in which everything changed including the rise of AIDs.
The Doctor Who writer created the show, which is produced by Studiocanal-owned Red Production Company, which recently made Netflix’s Michael C Hall-fronted thriller Safe.
Boys follows the story of the 1980s, the story of AIDS, and the story of three boys, Ritchie, played by Alexander, Roscoe and Colin, across the decade. 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.
The Boys is the tenth collaboration between Russell T Davies and Red Production Company following shows such as Queer As Folk, Casanova, Cucumber, Banana, Bob & Rose and The Second Coming.
Filming begins next week and the series will air on Channel 4 in 2020. The series is overseen at Channel 4 by Lee Mason, Commissioning Editor and Caroline Hollick, Head of Drama. The series will be executive produced by Nicola Shindler and Davies. Phil Collinson (Gentleman Jack) is producer. The series is directed by Peter Hoar (Umbrella Academy). All3Media International is global distributor.
Patrick Harris said, “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. Russell’s scripts chart the highs and lows of this time so beautifully and deftly, it’s an honour to help tell this story.”