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Former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has shared the first teaser for his upcoming Channel 4/HBO Max drama series It’s a Sin.

The five-part series was previously known as Boys but now shares its title with a Pet Shop Boys hit that soundtracks the teaser. In the short clip, we see lead character Ritchie, played by singer-actor Olly Alexander (Penny Dreadful, Skins), loading a song on a pub jukebox while he enjoys a pint.

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IT’S A SIN, the new title for Boys, a 5-part drama coming in 2021 on Channel 4 & HBO Max. . 1981. Five 18-year olds leave home and move into a London flat. The decade unfolds, as they explore their hopes and dreams… but with a terrible new virus on the rise. . Starring Olly Alexander as Ritchie, Lydia West as Jill, Omari Douglas as Roscoe, Callum Howells as Colin, Nathaniel Curtis as Ash, with Shaun Dooley, Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris, Tracy Ann Oberman and Keeley Hawes. Produced by Phil Collinson, directed by Peter Hoar. . @ollyyears @lydiawestie @marsdoug @callumhowells_c @nathaniel.curtis @misskeeleyhawes @nph @stephenfryactually @tracyanno @davidcarlyle_ @nathanieljhall @jill.nalder @luckyshanniiee @jonnygreen4 @neilashtonactor @davidgajones @natsus1 @kenchristiansen1 @michaelmather @seyansarvan @tobias__charles_ @mathewbose @1carolineberry @billycullum @miche_greenidge @redproductionco @channel4 @hbomax @nicolanshindler @jfferkim @andypryorcasting @realandypryor @ri_mcd @lordfulcher @philcollinson @pjuk @lindaviemakeup @alynwaterman @sarahbrewbrew @katznelson.david @carolinedkwh

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It’s a Sin is set in the early ’80s and follows three young gay men – Ritchie, Roscoe (Omari Douglas), and Colin (Callum Scott Howells) – as they embark on an exciting new life in London with female friend Jill (Lydia West) in tow. The plot synopsis teases: “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.”

The show’s ensemble cast also includes Keeley Hawes, Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Fry, Broadchurch actor Shaun Dooley and Doctor Who alumn Tracy Ann Oberman. It’s due to air on Channel 4 in the U.K. and HBO Max in the U.S. next year

Davies said in a press release: “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 honor 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.”

Is this going on your watch list? 

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By Nick Levine