TV Review: Big Boys (Series 1)

I finally get around the unalloyed pleasures of Series 1 of Big Boys

“If you can’t cast yourself as better-looking in your own life story then what’s the point”

It takes a moment to realise but as the first series of Jack Rooke’s delightful comedy Big Boys winds its way through its six episodes, you do clock that stories that tell of emotionally rich friendship between young men like this are few and far between. For this alone, I’d heartily (and belatedly) recommend the show though it is also bittersweetly hilarious along with it, an absolute pleasure to watch.

Jack and Danny are both freshers are Brent University but neither have had a straightforward journey there. Shy, closeted Jack deferred his place by a year after the death of his father; the far more laddish Danny is a mature student (of 25) on antidepressants; an administrative snafu sees them placed in external accommodation rather than halls and there, something quietly special grows.

There’s a coming of age for Dylan Llewellyn’s Jack as he ventures into gay life for the first time and Jon Pointing’s Danny is his complete ally in this – researching the best lube to buy for his pal, pushing him to join the LGBTQIA+ society – it’s a gorgeous dynamic. It is also deepened by the gradual realisation of just what Danny’s bravado is hiding, the depiction of the varying challenges of young masculinity equally nuanced whether gay or straight, happy or sad.

Izuka Hoyle’s Corinne and Olisa Odele’s Yemi are brilliant fellow students, dipping in and out of the freshers’ week parties and study sessions to help them both on their way. The sense of humour is eye-wateringly frank, from the messiness of drug-fuelled nights to the perils of poppers, and in the best British comedy way, the heart-piercing way in which grief is threaded throughout is just pitch-perfect, Camille Coduri just sensational as Jack’s widowed mother, packing in worlds of emotion into her few scenes.

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