Here is the list of winners from last night’s Broadcast Awards 2013, hosted at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel by Rob Brydon. Continue reading »
From established names such as, Gabriel Byrne, Gina McKee, Peter Mullan Olivia Colman, Shirley Henderson, David Oyelowo and Rupert Friend to brand new and emerging talent such as Monica Dolan, Joseph Gilgun, Katie Leung, Arsher Ali, Karla Crome, Matt Stokoe and newcomer Sharon Rooney, Drama on C4 is in extremely rude health. Continue reading »
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Top Boy returning
Channel 4 has renewed Top Boy for a second season after a successful first run recently. The gang drama will return or four more episodes next year.
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Channel 4 today announced the return of Top Boy for a second, four-part series.
Ronan Bennett’s thrilling four-part drama about young people living on the edge received universal critical acclaim on its debut last month. Stripped across four consecutive nights (31 October, 1-3 November), directed by Yann Demange and showcasing a dynamic line-up of first-time actors, Top Boy kept its audience in thrall to its sad, hopeful, raw and naturalistic rendition of inner-city life set in a world we rarely see.
Top Boy averaged 1.9m and 9.4% share across its four episodes (consolidated TV viewing), a 22% increase on the consolidated slot average and a 51% rise on the overnight average of 1.2m.
Commenting on the recommission, Channel 4′s Chief Creative Officer Jay Hunt said:
‘For me, Top Boy encapsulates everything that our drama is about: hugely original and passionate, with a brilliant roster of new talent. I’m thrilled that we’ll be seeing more.’
Channel 4 Head of Drama, Camilla Campbell, added: ‘We always seek to produce drama with a distinct authorial voice that reaches the heart of our audience. We were delighted that Top Boy resonated so widely and captured a world behind the headlines in a deeply humane and absorbing way, and look forward to inviting its loyal viewers back next year.’
Top Boy was created and written by Ronan Bennett, directed by Yann Demange and produced by Charles Steel, Alasdair Flind and Ronan Bennett. A Cowboy Films and Easter Partisan Films production.
On London’s Summerhouse Estate, lives are lived along lines, and challenges come in all forms, even – especially – for kids.
13-year-old Ra’Nell (Malcolm Kamulete) finds he has to “step up and be a man” when his mother Lisa (Sharon Duncan-Brewster) has a breakdown and is hospitalised. At the same time his mum’s friend Heather (Kierston Wareing), enlists his help in a dangerous plan she has concocted to give her unborn baby the chances she never had – “even if it means doing one wrong thing to get to the right place.”
Meanwhile, in the courtyards of the Summerhouse Estate a thriving but underground drugs business is being run by Dushane (Ashley Walters) and his friend Sully (Kane Robinson). Charming, sexy and clever, 26-year-old Dushane has “already run out of things to be – except this.” When he attracts the attention of the operation’s king pin Bobby Raikes (Geoff Bell), he seizes an opportunity to be more, to have more, to be Top Boy.
But others will pay a heavy price for Dushane’s ambitions, including Ra’Nell’s best friend, the guileless and vulnerable Gem (Giacomo Mancini), members of Dushane’s own family and an innocent young man whose only offence is to be related to Dushane’s deadly rival Kamale (Scorcher).
As Dushane and Sully’s fight for control of Summerhouse escalates, Ra’Nell finds himself caught in the crossfire – with devastating consequences.
Featuring an ensemble cast of brilliant new talent, Top Boy is Ronan Bennett’s new four-part drama about young people living on the edge and, for the most part, out of sight in east London today. Directed by Yann Demange, Top Boy showcases a fresh and dynamic line up of first-time actors, brought together through extensive talent searches across London.
Thrilling, raw, frightening, sad, hopeful and surprisingly funny by turn, this original drama is an honest and gripping rendition of inner-city life set in a world we think we know, but rarely see or understand.
A Cowboy Films and Easter Partisan Films production.
This four-part mini-series, created and written by novelist and screenwriter Ronan Bennett (Channel 4′s The Hamburg Cell, The Catastrophist, Public Enemies) takes us into the housing estates of east London. A Hackney resident himself, Bennett depicts the human realities of a world where every day is a struggle, survived with courage by some, whilst others slip between the cracks.
To some, crime seems to offer the only means of acquiring wealth and status. Drug gangs operate almost openly in the courtyards between tower blocks, while others strive to live honest lives against the odds. This tension is explored through the interlocking stories of 26-year-old dealer Dushane (Ashley Walters), determined to become the area’s Top Boy, and the good-natured but vulnerable 14-year-old Ra’Nell (Malcolm Kamulete), forced to grow up fast after his mother’s breakdown and enforced absence.
Top Boy combines elements of a tense gangster thriller with subtle social realism, touches of tenderness, surprising innocence and wry humour. The 68-strong cast blends newcomers like Kamulete, music stars Kane Robinson (aka Kano) and Tayo Jarrett (aka Scorcher) with established actors like Ashley Walters (Bullet Boy, Small Island), Kierston Wareing (It’s a Free World, Fish Tank, Luther, The Shadow Line), Geoff Bell (The Long Firm, RocknRolla, Five Daughters) and David Hayman (Trial and Retribution, Waking the Dead, Sid and Nancy, Hope and Glory).
Directed by Yann Demange (Criminal Justice, Dead Set) this gripping drama is full of striking images, often finding an austere beauty in the urban settings it inhabits. The gleaming skyline of the City of London forms a frequent backdrop to the views from the high-rise flats, a visual reminder that the ruthless pursuit of wealth crosses all social boundaries.
Kierston Wareing (It’s A Free World) and Ashley Walters (Hustle, Small Island) join forces with major UK contemporary music stars Kane Robinson aka Kano and Scorcher in an ensemble cast of new four-part thriller Top Boy.
Written by screenwriter and novelist Ronan Bennett (Public Enemies, The Hamburg Cell) and produced by Cowboy Films (The Last King of Scotland, Poppy Shakespeare) for Channel 4, Top Boy is a 4 X 60’ original drama about young lives lived on the edge. The drama looks beyond the headlines about youth crime and delves into the personal stories of those involved.
Filming has begun in and around London this month with director by Yann Demange (Criminal Justice, Dead Set) at the helm. The drama will showcase a fresh and dynamic line up of first time actors, brought together through extensive talent searches across London; combining open auditions and youth workshops, with on-the-spot, street approaches everywhere from bus shelters to Burger Kings.
Meet drug dealer and gang leader Dushane (Ashley Walters). He is charming, sexy, clever, and at 26 years old has “already run out of things to be – except this”. When he gets the attention of ex-convict and drug dealer Bobby Raikes (Geoff Bell) he seizes an opportunity to be more, to have more. With his friend Sully (Kane Robinson) at his side, Dushane is on track to becoming Top Boy.
Dushane and Sully’s violent quest to take over the supply of drugs in the Summerhouse Estate impacts on the lives of a number of the residents. The emotional heart of the story lies with Ra’Nell (Malcolm Kamulete), a bright 13-year-old struggling to create a stable home environment for his mentally ill mother Lisa (Sharon Duncan Brewster). Ra’Nell’s best friend Gem (Giacomo Mancini) will do anything to be accepted into Dushane’s gang whilst Summerhouse resident Heather (Kierston Wareing), pregnant and penniless, is determined to give her baby the chances she never had – “even if it means doing one wrong thing to get to the right place”.
Top Boy is based on months of first hand research by writer and Hackney resident Ronan Bennett and story consultant Gerry Jackson. Jackson, a fitness coach, was born and raised in Hackney and has, over the years, worked with the kids there to motivate and encourage them to keep clear of the drug and gang culture. He was able to set up meetings and interviews with local kids who gave candid accounts of life on the estates. This extensive research forms the basis of Bennett’s scripts.
Writer Ronan Bennett says: “I knew that I wanted to write about this world from the bottom up, from the point of view, not of the police, but of the tinies and youngers I saw every day hanging around the supermarket forecourt. So I asked Gerry if he would introduce me to kids on the street. Although I was interested in hearing about the mechanics of drug dealing, I wanted to know about the lives these kids lived. What were their homes like? Did they go to school? What did they think about their parents and teachers? What music did they like? Clothes? What did they want from life? Some of their stories were brutal and frightening. Others were sad and some were unintentionally funny – “I didn’t get focused on making money until I was 13,” one younger said wistfully, “all them wasted years.” I came to realise that the lives I was glimpsing on the supermarket forecourt were a lot more complex, deep and rich than I’d imagined. I wanted Top Boy to look at the fabric of life in a world we hear a lot about, but about which we know a lot less than we think.”
Head of drama Camilla Campbell says: “Ronan’s script is not only honest and contemporary, due to the vast research with the kids and their extraordinary stories – it is also gripping, funny and entertaining. It will be a striking piece of drama that is perfect for Channel 4.”
Top Boy will be made by Cowboy Films and Easter Partisan for Channel 4. The four- part drama serial, due for transmission in autumn 2011, will be produced by Charles Steel, Alasdair Flind and Ronan Bennett.
Top Boy will be available on DVD after transmission courtesy of Warner Home Video.