Channel 4 Orders Russell T. Davies 1980s AIDS Drama ‘The Boys’

Russell T. Davies passion project is finally coming to the small screen. Channel 4 has ordered The Boys, a five episode drama series from the former Doctor Who showrunner which explores the story of the 1980s, the story of AIDS, and the story of three boys, Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin, across the decade.

“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”, said Russell T. Davies. “So it’s an honour to write this for the ones we lost, and the ones who survived.”

The Boys follows Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin are young lads, strangers at first, leaving home at 18 and heading off to London in 1981 with hope and ambition and joy… and 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. The series, penned by Davies, is set up at Red Production Company. The executive producers are Nicola Shindler and Russell T. Davies. Production is eyed for a 2019 start.

“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“, said Lee Mason, Commissioning Editor for Channel 4, who commissioned the series alongside Head of Drama Beth Willis and Commissioning Executive Jonny Richards. “It’s an incredibly important project that feels just as landmark, just as uncompromising, and just as heartfelt.”

While 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.”