Jack Rooke

"It’s the closest I'll ever get to being on Big Brother”: Big Boys creator Jack Rooke on freshers, grief and growing up

Jack Rooke (centre) with Dylan Llewellyn as Jack and Camille Coduri (credit: Channel 4)

It’s 2013, and the characters in Jack Rooke’s new sitcom Big Boys are navigating the first night of freshers at a typically terrible student bar. Apologies to any millennials horrified to hear their recent university experience described as a period piece, but Rooke’s sharp observations of early 2010s British culture are viscerally transportive to those halcyon days of Tumblr, Cherry Sourz and Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’.

Channel 4 announces new scripted comedy Big Boys

(credit: Channel 4)

Created and narrated by Jack Rooke, the series will follow Jack (Llewellyn), a shy but sweet closeted boy in his first year of university. Jack forms an unlikely friendship with the laddish and boisterous Danny, played by Jon Pointing (Plebs).

Having spent the past year at home, grieving the loss of his father with his mum, Jack is thrown headfirst into university life, starting with the ecstasy and agony of Freshers' week. While he seems the polar opposite of his friend Danny, the pair form a close bond over the chaos of first year.

TV’s mental health challenge

Working in TV can mean realising a dream. From meeting interesting people to attending glitzy award ceremonies, the television industry is, undoubtedly, an exciting place to work. But, amid shrinking budgets, long hours and a largely freelance working culture, what once looked like a fulfilling career can turn out to involve an unbearable toll on our mental health.

Jack Rooke's hunt for the Happy Man

“I think in the past two years, the whole conversation [about mental illness] has become saturated with the importance of talking – which I think is important, but the conversation has got to progress beyond that.”

His show, Happy Man, launched on BBC Three last week, and sees the comedian try a range of approaches to tackling depression, including cold water swimming (“one of the worst things I have ever done”), running, life modelling (“scary”) and drag.

BBC announce a season of films on mental health

There will be a variety of programmes that touch on the sensitive topics surrounding mental health and the exploring the ways in which people approach mental health issues.

The season will include a two-part programme following a group of runners affected by mental health issues as they train for the London Marathon on BBC One; a Horizon Special exploring schizophrenia and advancements in the treatment of psychoses on BBC Two; a documentary on stress for BBC One, and a documentary from mental health campaigner and presenter Jack Rooke on BBC Three.