If you’re a fan of British drama then it’s likely that you were excited about the return of a certain show this week. Ashley Walters reprised his role as Dushane in Channel 4’s acclaimed, Top Boy, for a second season and it’s set to be even better than the first.
The second series saw us join the Summerhouse guys and girls one year on and although only a year has passed a lot has changed. Dushane and Sully’s friendship has deteriorated and while Dushane is now Top Boy on the estate, Sully played by Kano/Kane Robinson is carrying out petty crimes with his new partner Mike. Dushane describes Mike as a ‘nutter’ whose nine years inside have done nothing to improve him and it’s clear that he’s only speeding up Sully’s downward spiral.
Ra’Nell’s focus has shifted from drugs to football, but his best friend Gem gets caught up in trouble with Vincent when he destroys his whole crop. Dris, who has now replaced Sully, holds second rank in the Summerhouse gang. He is also a father, raising his young daughter Erin alone. There are few new kids on the block (or new faces on the estate) most of them making up Dushane’s gang. When Dushane, Dris and Sully are arrested for the murder of rival gang member Kamale (Scorcher/Tayo Jarrett) we’re introduced to another new character, Dushane’s lawyer, Rhianna played by Lorraine Burroughs and it seems that there are some interesting revelations about her character to look forward to.
The first episode of Top Boy season two doesn’t disappoint and it’s a sign the whole season won’t either. With shows like this there are always comments on whether gang culture is glamourized. But, a reading of that sort in relation to Top Boy would be a superficial one. Top Boy is about many things such as, the concept of community, the survival of friendship and hero worship as well as the reality of living in world where a life of crime appears to be the only option for many.
Catch up on the first episode online now. And if you missed out on Top Boy when it first aired in 2011 you can also see what everyone’s been talking about by watching it on 4OD. This week’s Time Out featured an interview with Ashley Walters where he talks about Top Boy, the difficulties facing Black actors trying to make it in the UK and parenting. Read it online here.
The soundtrack as ever is spot on. Making Top Boy more than just a great example of British drama, but a champion of UK music too. Ghost Poet’s Cash and Carry Me Home was featured in the opening episode of series Two. Have you been living under a rock and not heard this? Listen and watch the video below.