On London's Summerhouse Estate, lives are lived along lines, and challenges come in all forms, even - especially - for kids.
Thirteen-year-old Ra'Nell (Malcolm Kamulete) finds he has to ‘step up and be a man' when his mentally ill mother Lisa (Sharon Duncan Brewster) is suddenly hospitalised. At the same time his mum's friend Heather (Kierston Wareing), pregnant and penniless, enlists his help in a dangerous plan she has concocted to give her baby the chances she never had - ‘even if it means doing one wrong thing to get to the right place'.
Meanwhile, in the courtyards of Summerhouse Estate a thriving but invisible business is being run by Dushane (Ashley Walters) and his friend Sully (Kane Robinson). Charming, sexy and clever, the 26-year-old Dushane has ‘already run out of things to be - except this'. When he attracts the attention of ex-convict and drug dealer Bobby Raikes (Geoff Bell) he seizes an opportunity to be more, to have more - to be Top Boy.
But others will pay a heavy price for Dushane's ambitions, including Ra'Nell's best friend, the guileless and vulnerable Gem (Giacomo Mancini), members of Dushane's own family, and an innocent young man whose only offence is that he is related to Dushane's deadly rival Kamale (Scorcher).
Featuring an ensemble cast of brilliant new talent, Top Boy is Ronan Bennett's new four-part drama about young lives lived on the edge and, for the most part, lived out of sight in east London today. Directed by Yann Demange, Top Boy showcases a fresh and dynamic line up of first-time actors, brought together through extensive talent searches across London.
Thrilling, raw, frightening, sad, hopeful and surprisingly funny by turn, this original drama is an honest and gripping rendition of inner-city urban drug and gang culture. Top Boy looks at the heart of life in a world we think we know but rarely see or understand.
Production Company: Cowboy Films/Easter Partisan
Year of Publication: 2011