Channel 4 is about to expand their teen based catalogue with The End of the F***ing World, a dark, eight-episode road trip show with hints of deadpan comedy – with a modern day, teen Bonnie and Clyde narrative filled with angst and absurdity.
Adapted for the small screen from Charles Forsman’s award-winning series of comics, the story follows the 17-year-old, emotionally detached James, played by Black Mirror’s Alex Lawther, and the overly confident Alyssa played by Penny Dreadful’s Jessica Barden. Bored and in desperate need of some fulfillment in their lives they decide to escape from their families and embark on a road trip to find Alyssa’s estranged father, but a series of tragically brutal events put the pair on the police’s radar as their journey leads down a path of self-discovery.
Lawther’s James is a frosty, bizarre young man who witnessed his Mother’s suicide at the tender age of seven, leaving him in the care of his father (Steve Oram). Both events have had a psychologically damaging effect on his mental stability. An obsession with slaughtering animals has given him the thirst for the kill, longing for the bigger kill – a human – he sets his sights on the new girl in school, the popular Alyssa.
“I suppose it’s my job at the end of the day to make those people individually peculiar. I had been thinking about this recently, funnily enough. When you spend a decent amount of time with any human being, it isn’t a long time before you start to see their glorious peculiarities – everyone has them. I suppose that’s what interests me, at the moment, with the work that I come across. Examining the peculiar is a natural part of pretending to be other people.”
Barden’s Alyssa comes with her own issues, moody, bold and brassy on the surface but her angst stems from a miserable home life. Herself, a product of a ‘broken home,’ living with her mother and her cruel stepfather, not having seen her biological father since she was a young girl has also had an effect.
Compared to a David Lynch style of filmmaking with a very British twist, the series is soaked in anxiety, tension and at times isn’t for the faint of heart as the young couple begin to bond reaching deep into their own humanity discovering who they really are, completing a 360 turn around as the series comes to a staggering, not so happy ending.
Episode 1 will premiere on Channel 4 on Tuesday 24th October after which the rest of the boxset will then be immediately available, exclusively on All 4.