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Cast

Series cast summary:
Tony Bignell ...
 Matt (23 episodes, 2007-2011)
Joe Tracini ...
 DK (23 episodes, 2007-2011)
Anabel Barnston ...
 Chloe (22 episodes, 2008-2011)
Hannah Job ...
 Jas (22 episodes, 2008-2011)
Ceri Phillips ...
 Ollie (22 episodes, 2008-2011)
...
 Principal (19 episodes, 2008-2011)
Matthew Earley ...
 Mr. De Wilde (11 episodes, 2010-2011)
...
 Robyn (8 episodes, 2011)
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21 May 2007 (UK)  »

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Children's TV looks really different these days...
1 March 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Most bad shows I can safely ignore. Some, though, generate such an astonishing reputation for awfulness that I can't help but do some minor investigations; in the case of 'Coming Of Age', I was left staggering away reaching for the mouthwash.

No disrespect to nineteen year-olds out there, but they aren't ready for proper jobs. I know this because much of one of my old jobs was spent dealing with problems caused by the nineteen year-old employees. I really feel sorry for the writer of this show, whose career has opened with a critical evisceration that he might have avoided had he been out to see the world for a bit before putting pen to paper. Successful it may be, and I don't doubt that his bank balance is looking a fair bit healthier than mine is a the moment, but in decades to come when people look back at the 2000s to snigger at how old and uncool everything was then it'll be shows like this that are first in the firing line. It's like a modern version of 'On The Buses' in that respect, only with added smarm and a mystical vision of the demographic it's aiming at.

There is nothing, literally nothing, in this show that doesn't come back to sex eventually. Take a look at the clips on Youtube - the ones put up by the BBC itself to promote the show - to see for yourself. Take a look at the episode titles ("I Suck Coppers") being one of the cleaner examples) for more information. And this is where the real problem comes: this is technically known as "adult humour", but the appeal seems to be limited to thirteen year-olds staying up past their bedtimes on a school night. Check out the comments on the aforementioned Youtube pages, the majority of which consist of "I tried that line on my teacher and got detention...", for evidence that the target audience and the actual audience don't always match up. I don't blame the audience for being too young to know how they're being talked down to. I don't blame the writer for being too young to know how to create characters, resulting in a show where everyone is based around a single defining characteristic ("the dizzy one", "the one who's even more obsessed with sex than everyone else", etc) and every line plays to that. I do blame - and here comes the root of my irritation - BBC Three.

BBC Three is, ostensibly, a channel for young people. It's problem is that it's run by a group of people who have no idea what young people are and whose market research doesn't appear to have involved any. This has resulted in a channel devoted to an entirely phoney vision of youth that doesn't exist outside its own programmes. No wonder "young people" are a notoriously difficult to attract for TV programmers, since the "young people" the programmers have in mind don't exist and never have. There are enough idiots out there to just about keep BBC Three in business (I'm thinking of the people who "won the chance" to record their own continuity announcements, saving the channel the trouble of having to pay people to do them like everyone else), but I'm technically young enough to be part of the target demographic too and I feel vaguely insulted to have this aimed at me.

It must have felt like Christmas at BBC Three when this script came along. Someone from their target demographic writing for their target demographic? Brilliant! The work does itself! Unfortunately though, as long as it keeps chasing imaginary audience figures who fit into neat little pretend pigeonholes, its output is going to continue to embarrass people. Not that they'll ever acknowledge this of course - I'm a statistical anomaly you see, so I can be safely ignored. The channel's idea of what its audience is appeared to malfunction in the face of the show's critical sandblasting and they commissioned another series anyway, so I suppose the kids'll be happy about that. If only the show was actually aimed at them.


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