Entertainment & Arts

Olly Alexander: Years & Years singer to play man 'growing up in shadow of Aids'

Olly Alexander Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Olly Alexander put a promising acting career on hold when his band took off

Years & Years singer Olly Alexander says he feels like "the luckiest boy in the world" after being cast in the lead role in Russell T Davies' new TV drama.

Channel 4's 1980s-set series Boys will see Alexander play an 18-year-old gay man growing up "in the shadow of Aids".

"I've been a fan of Russell T Davies ever since I watched Queer As Folk in secret at 14 years old," he said.

Alexander has a string of film, TV and theatre credits, but put his acting career on hold when his band took off.

He appeared alongside Dame Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw in the West End, and in films including The Riot Club and God Help The Girl, but this is his first big role since he found pop stardom.

He added that Davies' work "helped shape my identity as a gay person so I'm absolutely over the moon we'll be working together".

The five-part Boys, which will chart "the joy and heartbreak of four friends during a decade in which everything changed", will also feature Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris and Tracy Ann Oberman. It will air on Channel 4 in 2020.

In 2017, Alexander presented the BBC Three documentary Growing Up Gay, and last year told the BBC he was advised to hide his sexuality.

His synth-pop trio have had five UK top five singles since 2015, and their second album Palo Santo went to number three in 2018.

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