Channel 4 is a gold mine for top-notch sitcoms and Jack Rooke's Big Boys proves that it's a stellar addition to the collection. The show, which draws inspiration from Jack Rooke's own life, follows Jack (Dylan Llewellyn) as he starts his first year at Brent University while dealing with grief from his fathers passing and also being a gay person in an ever changing society. Admist it all he meets Danny (Jon Pointing), who in all regards is his complete opposite, though the pair form an unlikely friendship. Over its six episodes, Jack Rooke manages to balance a whole host of ideas and themes perfectly. Everything is explored in a truly meaningful way, whether its grief, homosexuality, mental health, or friendship.
The main cast of characters are instantly relatable, and many of the situations Jack gets himself into will mirror so many people's real-life experiences. The beauty of a show a like Big Boys is that there are opportunities for so many different people who fit into forgotten-by-TV demographics. The show also benefits from its side characters, some of which might have no more than five minutes of screen time. Even so, they all feel like fully-fledged characters who leave their mark.
Big Boys also boasts a stacked cast. Derry Girls' very own Dylan Llewellyn leads as Jack, and arguably proves that he is made for doing so. Camille Coduri plays Jack's mother, who shines in a maternal role. Katy Wix brings the humour with her incompetent student union rep, Jules. Jack Rooke also lends his voice to narrate the six episodes which adds that personalised cherry on top of the cake.
Getting a Naked smoothie in a Tesco meal deal
Big Boys' biggest strength is it's unwavering dedication to embed itself in 2010s British culture. Getting a Naked smoothie in a Tesco meal deal, Allison Hammond on This Morning, and even Gamu on The X Factor (If you know, you know). All of these things make not only for a fun bit of nostalgia but it makes it easier to settle into the story alongside the characters.
There's still a long way to come with LGBTQIA+ representation in Television, but its really wonderful to see Channel 4 championing Big Boys, a show where Jack's sexuality is at the forefront and his experiences as a gay man aren't just subject to gossip. Avoiding spoilers, Big Boys has possibly one of the most beautifully written coming out scenes in a TV show, being deftly handled and packed with heart. Big Boys realistically deserves to be Channel 4's next Derry Girls and hopefully it ends up being just as popular.