A Watford comedian has written a sit-com about his experiences of growing up and coming out.

Channel 4's coming-of-age “LGBTQ-led” Big Boys will follow Jack (played by Derry Girls’ Dylan Llewellyn) as a closeted 19-year-old fresher.

Comedian Jack Rooke, who grew up in Watford, created the comedy loosely based on his own experience of coming to terms with his sexuality while growing up.

In the show, the “baby gay” from Watford receives a scholarship to study at the fictional Brent University where he begins to discover himself and become comfortable with his masculinity.

Reflecting Rooke’s own adolescent experience, the show, set in 2013, sees Jack experience a “period of reinvention” courtesy of his new friend Danny, played by Jon Pointing.

With Rooke acting as narrator across a “series of memories”, the comedian points out that audiences will be “very aware” they’re watching a TV show set in the past.

“I even say out loud at the start that Dylan [Llewellyn] is playing me, because ‘if you can’t cast yourself as better looking, then what’s the point?!?!’ Am I right?!” insists the comic.

Born out of two Edinburgh Fringe shows – Rooke’s 2015 offering Good Grief and 2017 show Happy Hour – Big Boys acts as a cathartic memoir, adapted from the original scripts he co-wrote with his 85-year-old nan.

Watford Observer: Credit: PA Photo/Channel 4 Television/Christopher Harris / Phil GallowayCredit: PA Photo/Channel 4 Television/Christopher Harris / Phil Galloway


The material can be traced back to the death of his father when Rooke was 15, with parts lifted from his diary entries written in Microsoft Word.

Lead actor Llewellyn says Big Boys sees Jack and fellow fresher Danny – two students at different ends of the “spectrum of masculinity” – form the unlikeliest of friendships.

But there is also grief to deal with. In the midst of attempting to carve out his adult identity, Jack must also deal with the void left following the sudden and unexpected loss of his dad.

He explained that the extreme lengths people would go to in order to avoid talking about his bereavement was something he found “quite amusing” and worth addressing in the show.

The first episode will be shown next Thursday (May 26) at 10pm on Channel 4.