WATCH: The British ‘Wire’?: Gritty Drama ‘Top Boy’ Begins Second Season
Originally aired in 2011, Channel 4’s drama series Top Boy was a gritty and realistic look at young urban life and gang culture on an East London estate. The series attracted modest ratings but strong critical acclaim — with many reviewers making comparisons to The Wire — and now, having finally received a DVD release in the U.K. last month, a second series begins broadcast this Tuesday, August 20.
The “Top Boy” of the title is 27-year-old drug dealer Dushane (Ashley Walters), who sits pretty at the top of the Summerhouse Estate at the start of this second series, but has lost the support of his best friend and main ally Sully (Kane Robinson) in the process. As Dushane prepares to move into the big time with drugs boss Joe (David Hayman), Sully is now a potentially dangerous rival, resorting to ever more desperate measures to get hold of cash. Here’s the trailer:
Walters and Robinson recently told The Guardian how the realism of the show is its strongest asset. “The majority of kids I speak to that are living that life will say that we hit the nail on the head, and you very rarely get that, especially with U.K. TV drama,” said Walters. “There’s always that romantic Hollywood element to it. But people appreciate Top Boy because it is what it is.”
Robinson also suggested to Digital Spy that Prime Minister David Cameron could learn a thing or two from the series. “I would be extremely surprised if David Cameron watched Top Boy. But maybe he should. He ain’t ever seen what it’s like out there. When you walk through Hackney after the police have blocked up the road and picked out a couple of people for you to speak to, you don’t really get a real feel.”