Big Boys shows that Queer TV series are a winner

It’s 2022 and you cannot switch on your telly without being bombarded with positive images of LGBTQIA+ life. It’s a wonderful thing for sure but step back and you will see that those images are almost entirely set in ads, yes the advertising world has gone queer crazy. I’m not complaining, it is surely a good thing even if it does rather niff of tokenism. Let’s not quibble, those images are good and long overdue.

When it comes to TV drama though it’s a different story, queer life is either painted as bleak or as silly, were not much further on than John Inman’s role in Are You Being Served, and a recent glimpse at an episode of that had me rocking with laughter at the continual denials of the makers and Inman himself that Mr Humphries was a homosexual – who did they think they were kidding.

So it was a delight to stumble upon a new Channel 4 comedy series called Big Boys. It has rather oddly been trailed and promoted with a scant mention of the queer storyline but queer it is and brilliantly so. The story centres on a shy 18 year old gay kid who is about to go to university. He lacks confidence, he’s sad and to be honest he’s lonely, and he’s not out. How many of us will relate to this, surely more than the statistic of 10 per cent. That move from the family home to further education is for most terrifying and for Jack, played brilliantly by Dylan Llewellyn it borders on disastrous. His promised room in halls doesn’t materialise and he is thrown into sharing a shed with the very lovable Danny played beautifully by Jon Pointing, a confident laddy straight boy, or so we are led to believe.

What follows is a charmingly scripted and often hilarious voyage of discovery for the two boys and the characters that they encounter on the way written beautifully by Jack Rooke.

Danny turns out have enough problems of his own, I won’t spoil the story, and Jack struggles to find his place in gay society with the aid of Yemi, a camp black boy and of course Danny who is the perfect “Ally”.

The content is raw, and it’s explicit, it doesn’t shy away from the real questions that a young gay man needs to ask, so be prepared for some in your face facts of gay life.

This is where the whole piece scores, it’s unashamedly frank, it’s prepared to laugh at itself, it’s hilariously and brutally funny and it has a happy ending.

Yes a happy ending in a queer comedy drama, it has sadness yes but at the end it paints a picture of a complete existence, a queer life worth living, and it’s one that many of us queers, male and female, bi, trans whatever and however you choose to identify, a life that is full of joy and fun and friendship and a future. I know, I know, there are people out there for whom this is not true, but what a joy to see that bright side of gay life portrayed with such skill and such confidence. It’s five big fat faggoty stars from me, and I reserve the right to use that word here, even if only for alliterative purposes!

Big Boys is on Channel 4 and streaming on BritBox

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