Review: Ladhood, BBC Three, Episode 4, Bedroom

Review: Ladhood, BBC Three

Comedian Liam Williams has been mining his nothern childhood ever since he broke through and built up a cult following at the Edinburgh Fringe. Now, after a radio series with the same name, here's a TV version of Ladhood, a semi-autobiographical six-parter in which Williams explores the nature of modern masculinity while putting his own original, dry, distinctive spin on a familiar subject.

It's 2019 in the Garforth childhood bedroom of Williams, where he is clearing some things out. He's dithering on the phone to his girlfriend about doing a performance poetry gig and then the scene flashes back to the same room where as a teenager he first started trying to be creative - in that case by creating some music with his hedonistic mates. While he dreams of escape – in reality Williams went to Cambridge – they just want to live in the moment and have a laugh. The area isn't so bad, one of them argues: "It isn't a shithole, it's got a Tesco exra."

While young Liam is the sensitive, angry, poetic type his mates conform to white, lower middle class expectations. Williams, inspired by The Streets and Myspace, wants to spit some truths about the things that matter to him in his own life, they want to rap about AK47s, spliffs and bitches and have a party while Liam's parents are away.

It's a type of laddish behaviour that has never gone away, but Williams puts his own deft spin on it. As well as showing his younger self trying to convince his school friends that there is more to life than small pizzas the older Williams simultaneously lurks in the doorway on the landing offering his own wry footnotes on their behaviour.

The dialogue is not always entirely convincing, but it is funny, with the references to Eminem, Natasha Bedingfield and shell suits striking a comedic nostalgic chord. The evocation of growing up in Yorkshire in the noughties has a universal feel to it. In every friendship group there is the sensitive one, the aggressive one, the dim one and the one that always wants to get wasted and the Williams gang is no exception.

There is also a nice cameo from Josie Long at the end as the older Williams finally gets his act together and does that gig. According to an interview in the Guardian Williams has given up stand-up, which is a shame, but Ladhood shows that he has not been wasting his time dithering away in real life.

Full series available now on BBC Three here.

 

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