Russell T Davies has announced plans for a new five-part drama series that will be set during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

The Boys will air on Channel 4 and follows three young guys who move to London in the early 1980s, just as the HIV/AIDS crisis started to unfold.

“The young trio, strangers at first, leave home at 18 and head off to London in 1981 with hope and ambition and joy,” an official synopsis reads. “However, they’re 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.”

It concludes: “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 hard-hitting drama will go into production in early 2019, so we’re at least a year away from seeing it on our screens.

It’s an honour to write this for the ones we lost, and the ones who survived.

Speaking about The Boys, Russell T 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.

“It’s an honour to write this for the ones we lost, and the ones who survived.”

Channel 4’s commissioning editor for drama, Lee Mason, added: “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.

“It’s an incredibly important project that feels just as landmark, just as uncompromising, and just as heartfelt.”

It will come four years after Russell T Davies’ previous LGBTQ-themed show for Channel 4, which was Cucumber back in 2015.

More recently, the writer helmed new gay drama A Very English Scandal for the BBC earlier this year.

It will retraced the true story of Liberal party leader Jeremy Thorpe’s supposed plot to have his ex-lover, stable boy Norman Scott, killed.

The politician stood trial for the attempted murder of his lover, but was eventually found not guilty in 1979.

Related: Russell T Davies talks LGBTQ visibility, Queer As Folk’s legacy, and the commercialisation of Pride