Series

How huge 'Top Boy' fan Drake got the canned series back for another season

13 October 2019 - 00:00 By Staff reporter
Ashley Walters stars as Dushane in 'Top Boy'.
Ashley Walters stars as Dushane in 'Top Boy'.
Image: Supplied

We can lay the blame for a lot of terrible things about the current age squarely at the feet of Canadian-born rap superstar Drake. His music, for one, and then there's the idiocy that is the In My Feelings Challenge, which has seen millions of fools worldwide mimic his dance moves while jumping out of their moving cars.

But there's one thing that Drake has that the world can be thankful for and that's his enthusiasm for the gritty Ronan Bennett-created Channel 4 series Top Boy, which aired to critical and cult acclaim for two seasons in 2011 and 2013 before it was inexplicably dropped.

Often described as London's version of The Wire, the show focussed on the ambitious attempts by two friends to make their way to the top of the East London drug scene on the violent streets of post-Tottenham riots London.

Drake has been a fan for many years, clumsily trying to mimic the show's British street slang and posting scenes from it on his popular Instagram feed. The show was also instrumental in helping to bring about the rise of grime stars like Stormy and it's a cult favourite among the music genre's stars.

WATCH | The trailer for season three of 'Top Boy'

Drake cajoled Bennett into meeting him even though Bennett, unlike half the world's population including his own children, didn't know who Drake was.

That meeting led to a meeting with Netflix and an order for a third season of the show, executive produced by the rapper, written by Bennett and bringing together most of the original cast for a more high-gloss but intensely real and authentic examination of the London underworld today.

Starring Ashley Walters as Dushane, the show weaves together several stories about characters caught up in the violent and ruthless street codes that run the drug world.

It's a Shakespearean tale of brotherhood, betrayal, redemption and moral ambiguity that draws you firmly into its world because of its sincerity and careful realisation of the multi-layered characters. It's full of violent action and gratuitous sentimentality but its quieter moments, in which characters reveal their deeper battles with internal moral compasses, are the ones that stick with you.

'Top Boy' is on Netflix.