Boy George’s days as a chart idol are to be dramatised in a BBC biopic featuring Gavin and Stacey star Mat Horne, it was announced today.
The film – 'Worried About the Boy' – will look at the singer’s transition from face about town to “gender bender” household name in the 1980s.
Horne will play Jon Moss, the drummer of George’s band Culture Club, who famously had a relationship with the frontman in the band’s early days.
Hustle’s Marc Warren will play Visage singer and clubland legend Steve Strange, and League Of Gentleman star Mark Gatiss will play impresario Malcolm McLaren. McLaren had at one stage planned to add George to the line-up of Bow Wow Wow, whom he managed.
Newcomer Douglas Booth will play George, whose real name is George O’Dowd.
In the early 1980s Culture Club were one of the biggest bands of their day, with a string of hits including 'Karma Chameleon' and 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?'.
But by the middle of the decade George’s career was falling apart as he battled heroin addiction, although he went on to have solo hits and had further success as a DJ.
In recent years he has found himself in the spotlight for his brushes with the law, landing a community service in the US in 2006 for falsely reporting a burglary at his flat. And last year he served four months in prison for assault and false imprisonment.
The BBC2 film, commissioned as part of its 80s series, has been written by Tony Basgallop, who has worked on 'Hotel Babylon' and BBC4’s Hughie Green film 'Most Sincerely'.
Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC drama commissioning, said: “'Worried About the Boy' will be an evocative and visually enticing drama about one of our most iconic British pop stars.
“With its mix of music, fashion and youth, it rounds off our trio of dramas for BBC Two’s 80s season perfectly.”
Executive producer Nicola Shindler said: “I was very excited at taking such an iconic British character and showing a different side to a story everyone thinks they know. The early 80s magical setting of the Blitz Club and the New Romantics is fun, visual and new to TV drama.”
The 90-minute drama begins filming in Manchester this month.
Also in the 80s season is an adaptation of Martin Amis’ 'Money', starring Nick Frost, and 'The Royal Wedding', a drama set against the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.