Russell T Davies' 'Boys' Changes Name To 'It's A Sin' On Channel 4

It's A Sin is Doctor Who's Russell T Davies' brand new 5-part drama for Channel 4, previously known as Boys (we thought there may have been an issue here). Taking the title from the Pet Shop Boys track from the time it is set, It's A Sin follows the story of the 1980s, the story of AIDS, and charts the joy and heartbreak of a group of friends across a decade in which everything changed. Olly Alexander leads a cast which also features Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris, Tracy Ann Oberman, Shaun Dooley, Omari Douglas, Callum Scott Howells, Nathaniel Curtis and Lydia West.

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. It's the story of these boys' 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.

Olly Alexander, from the band Years & Years, which inspired the name of Russell T Davies' hit series Years And Years plays 18-year-old Ritchie Tozer, the family's golden boy, though he's determined to keep his secrets from them. Newcomer Omari Douglas plays London-born 17-year-old Roscoe Babatunde, a wild, brittle party boy, always on the run. Newcomer Callum Scott Howells plays Colin Morris-Jones, a quiet, unassuming, boy from Wales, about to become an apprentice on Savile Row. Lydia West (Years and Years) plays Jill Baxter, Ritchie's friend from college, straight-talking, funny, and the rock on which they rely. Newcomer Nathaniel Curtis plays Ash, a faithful friend through thick and thin.

The cast of It's A Sin also includes Keeley Hawes who plays Valerie, Ritchie's mum, Shaun Dooley who plays Clive, his dad, Neil Patrick Harris  as Henry Coltrane, Stephen Fry as MP Arthur Garrison, and Tracy Ann Oberman as Carol Carter.

Russell T Davies says; "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."

Olly Alexander says: "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."

Russell T Davies' Boys, On Channel 4 In 2021, Now Called It's A Sin
It's A Sin – Richie (Olly Alexander) ontop of policeman. Person on the floor – Jill (Lydia)

Neil Patrick Harris says: "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."

The series is overseen at Channel 4 by Lee Mason, Commissioning Editor and Caroline Hollick, Head of Drama. The series will be produced by RED Production Company (a STUDIOCANAL company) and executive produced by Nicola Shindler (Years and Years, Safe, Happy Valley, Queer As Folk, Cucumber) and Russell T Davies, Phil Collinson is producer. The series is directed by Peter Hoar (Umbrella Academy, The Last Kingdom, Da Vinci's Demons). It's A Sin is the tenth collaboration between Russell T Davies and RED Production Company, including Queer As FolkCasanovaCucumber, Banana, Bob & Rose and The Second Coming. All3media International are the global partner.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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