Critically-acclaimed Top Boy, the East London-based drama about gang culture, returns for a fifth and final season on Netflix, triggering rave reviews all round.
The final season of Top Boy, the crime drama set on a fictional Hackney estate as well as locations in Tower Hamlets, and featuring local actors, is now available to watch on Netflix.
Created and written by Ronan Bennett, Season Five continues Top Boy’s searing social commentary on the intergenerational violence of drug abuse and gang culture.
The much anticipated fifth and final season features some famous East London locations, and stars childhood best friends and drug dealers Dushane and Sully in six climactic episodes as they cope with the challenges of growing up in Inner City London.
Top Boy has continually spotlighted some iconic locations of East London. Summerhouse Estate, the fictional housing estate backdrop to much of the series, is based upon Isle of Dogs’ own Samuda Estate.
Viewers from Tower Hamlets might have recognised Bethnal Green’s Cranbrook Estate featuring in season three, while locals of Victoria Park may themselves have visited the bench in Old English Garden where we watched orphaned brothers Jamie, Stefan and Aaron process their grief.
Two cast members, Nabil Elouahabi who plays Mr. Mustapha, and Dudley O’Shaughnessy who plays Si, were born in Tower Hamlets, according to IMDB. Alongside local talent, Season Five welcomes Barry Keoghan, playing Jonny, from the Oscar-nominated film The Banshees of Inisherin.
Top Boy’s importance to the local area goes deeper. It also sponsors Hackney Wick FC, a community football club helping young people stay on the straight and narrow. Hackney Wick FC was founded by Bobby Kasanga who first watched the series while in prison himself. In an interview on Radio 4’s Today programme, Kasanga said:
‘I remember when it was first on TV. I was actually incarcerated at the time, and being inside prison watching it on Channel 4, it resonated with me a lot.’
As well as representing the vulnerability of young people to manipulation and corruption by gangs, Top Boy’s sponsorship of Hackney Wick FC has helped at least 200 young people play football for free in the midst of the cost of living crisis.
The show keeps up to date with today’s politics. Season Five features a storyline about Kieron, played by Joshua Blissett, facing deportation to Rwanda due to the Home Office’s anti-immigration, hardline policies.
All episodes of Season Five of Top Boy are now available to stream on Netflix today.
The first two seasons of Top Boy were broadcast on Channel 4 before it was dropped in 2014. Following interest from Canadian rapper and executive producer Drake, Netflix revived the series to critical acclaim.
Kasanga praises the honesty of the series that depicts life for many young people living in inner cities in all its reality.
‘Teenage pregnancy and sexual health, immigration, gentrification, drug addiction – all these things that some young people might be oblivious to’, says Kasanga. ‘I think they should show this in schools’.
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