Could this generation’s Queer as Folk be right around the corner?
Back in 2018, Russell T. Davies, creator of the beloved queer television series, announced he was working on a new show tackling gay life. Originally titled The Boys, the five-part drama follows three young men—Ritchie, Roscoe, and Colin—after they move to London in the early ’80s at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. The series underwent a few name-changes thanks to Amazon’s 2019 superhero series with the same title. First, it was retitled Boys; finally, the team settled on It’s A Sin.
As NewNowNext previously reported, out Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander stars as 18-year-old Ritchie Tozer, one of the three queer men starting new lives in London. In a new series teaser, we get to see Alexander in action as he stands at a bar jukebox—playing, appropriately enough, “It’s A Sin” by Pet Shop Boys—before turning to eye the hunky, blond bartender.
The official synopsis for It’s A Sin reads:
It’s 1981, the start of a new decade and Ritchie (Olly Alexander), Roscoe (Omari Douglas) and Colin (Callum Scott Howells) begin a new life in London.
Strangers at first, these young gay lads, and their best friend Jill (Years and Years’ Lydia West), 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 of It’s A Sin also includes Neil Patrick Harris, Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry, Tracy Ann Oberman, Shaun Dooley, Lydia West, and Nathaniel Ash.
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OLLY ALEXANDER stars as Ritchie in BOYS, Channel 4, 2020. Also starring KEELEY HAWES as Ritchie’s mum, Valerie, NEIL PATRICK HARRIS as Henry Coltrane and STEPHEN FRY as Arthur Garrison, plus TRACY ANN OBERMAN as Carol Carter, with SHAUN DOOLEY as Clive. The story of three young boys arriving in London in 1981, just as a new virus appears, @ollyyears stars alongside blazing new talent: LYDIA WEST (from Years and Years) as Jill, OMARI DOUGLAS as Roscoe, NATHANIEL CURTIS as Ash, CALLUM HOWELLS as Colin Cast by Andy Pryor Casting, Directed by Peter Hoar, produced by Phil Collinson. . . . @channel4 @redproductionco @ollyyears #boys @misskeeleyhawes @nathaniel.curtis @callumhowells_c @marsdoug @carlyle_david @tracyanno @stephenfryactually @nph @nathanieljhall @davidgajones @shaun_dooley_ @philcollinson @pjuk @nicolanshindler @andypryorcasting @realandypryor @meccleston Yes, I’ve gone from Years and Years to Years & Years, I know
“I feel like the luckiest boy in the world to be a part of this project,” Alexander, 30, wrote on social media when his casting was announced, adding that he’s been a fan of Davies since watching Queer as Folk “in secret” as a teen. “His work helped shape my identity as a gay person so I’m absolutely over the moon we’ll be working together.”
After creating and executive-producing two seasons of Queer as Folk for Channel 4 in the U.K., Davies went onto revive Doctor Who, leading to the sci-fi series’ worldwide popularity that has carried on to this day. In 2009, Davies left the Time Lord-verse and created another show about queer life, Cucumber, and its companion series, Banana, both of which aired on Logo in the U.S. in 2015.
Davies most recently wrote the limited series A Very English Scandal and Years & Years.
“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,” Davies said in a statement announcing It’s A Sin. “It’s an honour to write this for the ones we lost, and the ones who survived.”
It’s A Sin hits Channel 4 in the U.K. and HBO Max in the U.S. in 2021.