Last week four-part “URBAN” drama ‘Top Boy’ aired on Channel 4 and pulled in 1 million viewers. Yes it went down a storm!

Then over the weekend it was quietly announced that the,

TOP BOY DEBATE SHOW shall be taking place Tuesday 7pm at Veranda bar 30 Acre Lane, Brixton, London SW2 5SG, with Ashley Walters, Richard Campbell, Sharon Duncan Brewster, Mark Prince and Gifford Sutherland hosted By Karen Allen..

This was an opportunity for those who tuned in to watch ‘Top Boy’ to ask the cast questions, to air their views on the drama, on how black people (particularly black males) are depicted on screen, the problems within our community, and how they can be solved.

The debate was brilliant, it was both very passionate and emotional at times and important points were raised throughout. I left with a feeling of hope.

But it’s just a shame that everyone involved with Top Boy all failed to show. There was no Channel 4 representative there and even the dog (Marni) failed to put in an appearance.  Yet over the weekend cast members turned up to BBC Radio headquarters to talk about the drama on 1xtra (minus the dog).

Anyway when it was announced by the host Karen Allen founder of organisation  Mad Transformations , that none of the cast would be in attendance for various reasons, I laughed and just shook my head in disappointment.

Ronan Bennett

I however would not expect to see Top Boy writer/creator Ronan Bennett (above) attending debates of this nature. The drama was a huge ratings success for him and that is all he cares about. He is probably sitting in his posh office somewhere formulating a script for a second series and planning his next trip to Hackney with his PA in tow, ready to suck more stories/ideas out of lost and misguided youth who are up to no good.

It wouldn’t surprise me if last night’s debate show (which was filmed) was just thrown for his benefit, so he can get some ideas for the second instalment.

Fellow blogger Lisa Bent also attended the debate show. Please click HERE to read her brilliant review of last night’s events.

Your thoughts please….

9 replies »

  1. I have to give credit where credit is due. I was like many people critical when the trailer of Top Boy first appeared and imagined it was just another UK ‘urban’ film that has already been done to death, but I have to say, I was proven wrong. It started off a little slow, but overall I quite enjoyed it. It had a brilliant story line that picked up as the drama progressed, it was natural and authentic which was a change from other UK urban films I’ve seen that were unrealistic, over exaggerated, over-use of slang ect. Would be looking forward to a 2nd series if there is one in the making.

  2. Sounds like the debate was a success but the Top Boy cast and everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves.

  3. I think this is a ridiculous article. You can’t just expect Ronan Bennett to have to come to everything to do with Top Boy. Do we even know for sure that he was invited? His name wasn’t on the announcement that was posted! I hear Ronan put in months and months of research to create the script, I think he should be really proud of himself that such hard work paid off. It’s really irresponsible to speculate that he’s at home working on a second series, maybe try getting some firm information so that you article actually has some substance and try using some vague journalistic skills!

  4. @Joseph_SW

    Ronan put in ‘months and months’ of research to create the script did he? Did it involve interviewing Hackney’s top road men?

  5. Okay, I’ll say from the get go that I enjoyed the programme and that it probably the best “Urban” film or drama in last ten years. Yes, that includes Kidulthood.

    Unfortunately for all the pre show chatter and articles Top Boy was a ratings disaster.

    It draw a peak audience of 1.3 Million viewers on its Second (Tuesday) episode and did average out a 1M over the four days. However, it never got more than 7% audience share (eg. That viewers aged between 18-35 in households watching either via terrestrial or Freeview sets). It was amazingly beaten by Big Brother (Yes, its still on over at Channel 5) in all but one day, Tuesday. I’m almost certain that if you broke the audience down in ethnic groups those figures would increase dramatically.

    Sadly if the drama did anything in reinforced the fact that White Britons don’t much like to watch Black Britions in anything other than when they Running & Jumping (sport) and Singing & Dancing(Music & reality shows).

    You make an interesting point about a second series, I think a few people at C4 (ok, the people handling Press/Media for the prograwme) were stunned not so much on the Gang/Black Boys angle but the whole Mental health thing. They really thought it a minor point.

    C4 are planning to release the DVD at end of Jan/ early Feb. So there’ll definitely be an oppurtunity to speak to Writer, Director & Cast then if your up for it???

  6. Great review. I so would love to see an urban film that did not involve gangs and drugs or an attempt to be a uk version of xyz. Black actors actresses can make the difference as I know many are now writing scripts. I do not feel Top Boy is the problem. The problem is that Top Boy is the only thing that is being offered which is not enough. If able I will watch the last two episodes at some point.

    Sounded like it was a great debate.

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November 2011
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