Why you should catch up with BBC Three’s Ladhood
Helen Archer | On 01, Dec 2019
Season 3 premieres on 5th September 2022. This mini review is based on Season 1 and was originally published as part of a BBC Three reviews column.
Liam Williams, probably best known to BBC Three viewers for his astute influencer satire Pls Like, brings us this adaptation of his Radio 4 series, which wryly documents his formative years in Garforth, Leeds. In the six-part box set, he traces all his ‘adult’ problems back to his adolescence, when they first came to the fore. It’s an effective premise.
Each episode begins with him messing up his life and relationship in various ways – from his depression and his attitude to drinking, to getting into pointless fights and his inability to commit fully to his relationship. We then flash back to his teenage years, as we watch him kicking about in his gang of four, while the older Williams hangs around in the background like the Ghost of Christmas future.
It’s full of early 21st-century nostalgia – his first email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, which he uses to upload dire raps onto MySpace, while his mum shouts at him to get off the internet when she has to use the phone – and the soundtrack is spot-on. The cast of characters are wonderfully drawn, exploring concepts of masculinity via bawdy laughs and a lowkey sensitivity, resulting in a more erudite version of The Inbetweeners.
A kind of wistful melancholy permeates the hilarity, asking questions about why we repeat the same mistakes and whether we ever fully leave our past selves behind us. Despite appealing to the teenager in all of us, this is a grown up comedy which shows Williams really coming into his own.
Ladhood is available on BBC iPlayer until November 2021.