Years & Years singer Olly Alexander has said he feels like “the luckiest boy in the world” to star in Russell T Davies’s highly anticipated drama set during the Aids crisis of the 1980s.
In a short teaser for It’s A Sin, shared by Channel 4, he can be seen as 18-year-old Ritchie Tozer as he chooses as a song on a jukebox in a pub and then looks over at the barman.
The drama, which had previously been called Boys, will air next year, and charts the joy and heartbreak of a group of friends across the decade.
Newcomer Omari Douglas plays London-born 17-year-old Roscoe Babatunde, a wild, brittle party boy, always on the run, while newcomer Callum Scott Howells plays Colin Morris-Jones, a quiet, unassuming boy from Wales, about to become an apprentice on Savile Row.
Lydia West plays Jill Baxter, Ritchie’s friend from college, who is straight-talking, funny and reliable.
Beginning in 1981, Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin are strangers when they begin a new life in London but soon find themselves thrown together.
The young gay men realise a new virus is on the rise, and soon their lives will be tested in ways they never imagined.
As the decade passes, they grow up in the shadow of Aids, but are determined to live and love more fiercely than ever.
The series also stars Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris, Tracy Ann Oberman and Shaun Dooley.
Davies 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.
“So it’s an honour to write this for the ones we lost, and the ones who survived.”
Alexander added: “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.”
Harris, who plays Henry Coltrane, said: “I’m so pleased, and incredibly proud, to be a part of Russell T Davies’s new series.
“This drama 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.”