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Top Boy

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A thrilling and raw four-part drama about young lives lived on the edge in east London - an honest and gripping rendition of inner-city drug and gang culture

About the Show

A thrilling and raw four-part drama about young lives lived on the edge in east London - an honest and gripping rendition of inner-city drug and gang culture

Series 1 Summary

Featuring an ensemble cast of brilliant new talent, Top Boy is Ronan Bennett's new four-part drama about young lives lived on the edge and, for the most part, lived out of sight in east London today.

On London's Summerhouse Estate, lives are lived along lines, and challenges come in all forms, even - especially - for kids.

  • Episode 1

    Thirteen-year-old Ra'Nell finds he has to 'step up and be a man' when his mother Lisa has a breakdown and is hospitalised.

    At the same time his mum's friend Heather, enlists his help in a dangerous plan she has concocted to give her unborn baby the chances she never had - 'even if it means doing one wrong thing to get to the right place.'

    Meanwhile, in the courtyards of the Summerhouse Estate a thriving but underground drugs business is being run by Dushane and his friend Sully.

    Charming, sexy and clever, 26-year-old Dushane has 'already run out of things to be - except this.' When he attracts the attention of the operation's king pin Bobby Raikes, he seizes an opportunity to be more, to have more, to be Top Boy.

    But others will pay a heavy price for Dushane's ambitions, including Ra'Nell's best friend, the guileless and vulnerable Gem, members of Dushane's own family and an innocent young man whose only offence is to be related to Dushane's deadly rival Kamale.

    As Dushane and Sully's fight for control of Summerhouse escalates, Ra'Nell finds himself caught in the crossfire - with devastating consequences.

  • Episode 2

    Dushane and his partner Sully find themselves hugely in debt to Raikes and under increasing pressure to retrieve their stash from Kamale.

    Elsewhere, the terrifying consequences of Dushane's ambitions begin to spill into the lives of his family.

    Lisa is still in hospital but showing signs of improvement. She is allowed a day release, and pins all her hopes on a reunion with her son Ra'Nell.

    Unbeknown both to her and Ra'Nell's guardian angel Leon, he has been recruited by Heather to help run her secret project.

    That same night, in desperation, Dushane and Sully formulate a kidnap plot to lure Kamale, their main rival in the London Fields Mandem, into the open. But things don't go to plan and the results are fatal.

  • Episode 3

    In the penultimate episode Dushane and Sully know that time is running out to find Kamale and repay their debt to Raikes.

    Obsessed with finding out whether there's a grass within their own gang, Sully instructs fellow gang-member Dris to intercept his prime suspect: Ra'Nell's best mate, the hapless Gem.

    Ra'Nell turns to Leon to help Gem, bringing Leon into further conflict with Sully.

    Heather, dreaming of her new life, takes Ra'Nell to see the waterfront flat she hopes to buy with the fruits of their labours; and as Lisa finally returns home to pick up the pieces of her life, she's unaware of the dangerous secret which now bonds Ra'Nell and Heather.

  • Episode 4

    Dushane's loyalty to his hot-headed accomplice and best friend, Sully, is tested to the limit when he discovers him openly carrying a murder weapon.

    With the police out in force and their situation spiraling out of control, Raikes offers Dushane a monstrous solution to all of his problems.

    Meanwhile Ra'Nell, inveigled into protecting Heather, decides to negotiate directly with Dushane over the price of her crop, which draws him further into a catastrophic series of events triggered by Sully's duplicity.

    When Heather unexpectedly goes into labour and with her plans in turmoil, she is forced into a bedside confession which confronts her old friend, Lisa, with the terrible truth about Ra'Nell's involvement in her drugs enterprise.

    Lisa, distraught and desperate, is left to rely on Leon to prevent certain tragedy.

Top Boy synopsis

A thrilling and raw four-part drama about young lives lived on the edge in east London - an honest and gripping rendition of inner-city drug and gang culture

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2 Series, 8 Episodes