How can you not be immediately enticed by a programme when the advert shows a guy getting slapped in the face in slow-mo, with a sausage?
Based on the real-life diaries of Rachel ‘Rae’ Earl, this six-part teen drama revolves around 16-year- old, 16 ½ stone Rae; gaining her first whiff of freedom after a four month stint in a psychiatric ward.
Set in 1996, when the Gallagher brothers could still stand to share a stage, there’s a refreshing essence to the 90s soundtrack and the converse clad ‘cool’ gang Rae falls into. In her first major TV role, Sharon Rooney effortlessly captures Rae’s vulnerability after plunging back in to the outside world, while confronting us with her surprisingly rude language and frank openness about music, boys and her quest to…get laid.
Typically ‘E4,’ the programme doesn’t wander too far from the adolescent hormone induced humour it’s known for but does fuse this with darker undertones. Tom Bidwell, the writer, manages to achieve equilibrium with snaps of discomfort and moments of light-hearted cringe; the serious issues of self-harm and anxiety tackled with sensitivity and honesty.
Some welcome fresh faced acting talents, notably Nico Mirallegro (Hollyoaks, Spike Island) as Finn, are paired with more familiar faces like Ian Hart (Professor Quirrell from Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone) as her sharp and witty psychiatrist and her eccentric mum played by Claire Rushbrook (Linda Green, Mutual Friends).
It’s entertaining, upliftingly relatable and while not ground breaking TV, it’s cleverly humorous, not only exposing the struggles of mental illness but the problems of every average teenager.