Channel 4 announce the return of hard hitting drama, Top Boy

by Lynn Connolly

Channel 4 today announced the return of their critically acclaimed drama Top Boy for a second series which will be aired in four parts.

Written by Ronan Bennett, Top Boy follows the lives of a group of young people who are “living on the edge” in London’s rough Summerhouse Estate.

Directed by Yann Demange, the first series of the show introduced a host of brand new actors in the series’ major roles, including, Malcolm Kamulete who plays Ra’Nell, Sharon Duncan Brewster who plays his mum Lisa, Geoff Bell who plays Bobby Raikes, and Ashley Walters as Dushane.

Described as, “Thrilling, raw, frightening, sad, hopeful and surprisingly funny by turn”, the show attracted such great viewing figures in its recent first run, the second series was commissioned almost right away…

While discussing how he arrived at the concept for Top Boy, Bennett told Channel 4 that he had first wanted to understand the dynamics of inner city life from those who live it.

For the purpose, he asked a Jamaican born friend, Gerry, to help him get close to some of the kids who could put across their viewpoints first hand.

Bennett said, “I wanted to hear about the mechanics of drug dealing, but I also wanted to know about these kids’ lives.

“What were their homes like? Did they go to school? What did they think about their parents, teachers and the police?

“Some stories were brutal and frightening, others sad…

“Over the months, with Gerry’s help, I came to realize that the lives I had glimpsed on the supermarket forecourt were more complex, deep and rich than I’d imagined.

“In parts of Hackney, dealing drugs is how some people make a living. It’s part of the fabric of life.”

Here’s a look at the show in its original TV teaser ad…

And if you missed it, you can watch it here on 4oD.

Related: ,

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.