If you miss the little English fella from Derry Girls, redemption is at hand. Actor Dylan Llewellyn brings exactly the same level of good-natured, wide-eyed innocence big boysa new Channel 4 comedy that elevates him to a leading role.
It’s an autobiographical coming-of-age story written by Jack Rooke, a comedian who first explored the subject on his stand-up show Good Grief. Llewellyn plays Jack, a teenager heartbroken by the death of his father who later leaves home and his loving mother, Peggy, to attend university.
Jack must overcome his shyness to make friends. He is gay but has never had a boyfriend or even a kiss. He’s so shy and vulnerable that you’ll want to pick him up and cuddle him. “Everyone said college was fun, but the only reason I’m here is because I can’t just sit on the sofa with my mom anymore,” he cries, longing for the soothing afternoons they spent together watching horrible TV .
At university, Jack is thrown together with Danny (Jon Pointing), a clown who doesn’t seem to have any confidence issues. But late in episode one we see Jack with a pack of pills. They turn out to be antidepressants, a sign that this show won’t strive for Inbetweeners-style laughs.
Rooke narrates as if he were looking back on himself with accumulated wisdom. “I didn’t look like that at 17,” he says, “but if you can’t portray yourself as better looking in your own life story, what’s the point?” And it’s littered with well-observed lines: When his father died, “showed neighbors they cared by dumping lasagna on doorsteps like unwanted babies.”
The heartfelt parts are skillfully woven around more standard comedy. Rooke nails the awkwardness of Freshers’ Week, including the girl downplaying her posh credentials. Someone replies by telling her, “You can’t call yourself working class unless you’ve badly burned your palate on a Greggs,” a line that could have come straight from a stand-up routine.
There are many laughs, but at its core, this is the story of a friendship that you very much hope will develop.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/0/big-boys-review-coming-of-age-comedy-blends-laughs-life-lessons/ coming-of-age comedy blends laughs, life lessons and characters to truly root for