A comedian who grew up near Watford has revealed what it’s like to film a sitcom in his hometown ahead of its second season airing this weekend.

Jack Rooke, 30, told PA Media it felt “surreal” to shoot his Channel 4 show Big Boys in Watford as it means “retracing my own personal history”.

It features Derry Girls actor Dylan Llewellyn as a semi-fictionalised version of Jack as a closeted first-year university student in 2013.

The show takes inspiration from real-life diary recordings Jack made as a teenager and explores how he recovered from his father’s death and he became comfortable with his sexuality. 

The writer, who grew up in Rickmansworth, explained how filming locations relate to his experiences as a teenager.

Watford Observer: Actor Jon Pointing, comedian Jack Rooke and actor Dylan Llewellyn.Actor Jon Pointing, comedian Jack Rooke and actor Dylan Llewellyn.

He compared it to being on the TV show Who Do You Think You Are?, adding: “Except I’m not finding out that any of my ancestors are old money rich barons or anything exciting.

“It’s just me taking everyone to the same kebab shop I used to go to and pointing out, ‘Oh, we used to get shisha pipes in that weird Persian restaurant there’.”

Watford Observer: Dylan Llewellyn (L) plays a semi-fictionalised version of writer Jack Rooke at university.Dylan Llewellyn (L) plays a semi-fictionalised version of writer Jack Rooke at university. (Image: PA)

The second series, which premiers this Sunday (January 14) on Channel 4, follows the characters as they enter their second year of university in 2014.

In real life, Jack studied journalism at the University of Westminster in Harrow and the sitcom uses his former campus as the fictional Brent University, which his fictionalised-self attends in the show.

Jack said: “I went to university ten minutes from home so when we’re shooting at the uni, we’re also around the corner from my mum.”

The comedian, whose previous work has explored grief and loss, also hinted at moving on from autobiographical work in the future.

He added: “It’s lovely, but I’ll be excited when my past becomes my past, if that makes sense.”

The first series of Big Boys was released on Channel 4 in May 2022 and was renewed for a second series, which saw filming in the Village Café in Abbots Langley.

Cafe owners Ernesta and Aaron previously told the Watford Observer that filming at the cafe was “lots of fun”. 

Ernesta said: “It went really well to be honest. They were all very nice people.”