The half-hour comedy pilot, Big Age, will air on Channel 4 during their Black to Front day on Friday 10 September 2021.
Written by the acclaimed writer of Love in Colour, Bolu Babalola, Big Age follows a group of four young Black-British friends who are in the ‘big age’ era of their lives.
With a backdrop of parental expectation, personal dreams and the crushing reality of maxed-out credit cards and with the Nigerian phrase ’at your big age!’ ringing in their ears; it’s a quipped admonition that can be both loving and mocking, both commanding and encouraging - it is about growing up, stretching up, stepping up.
In the pilot, Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo plays protagonist Ṣadé who has just turned 25, or twenty-thrive – she’s unashamedly ambitious, fierce but has moments of spiralling (yet hilarious) insecurity. Ṣadé dreams of being a writer.
Dela, played by Racheal Ofori, is Ṣade’s best friend and an artist who prefers to ‘go where her soul flows’ and is a free-spirited, sexually liberated, social justice warrior who would do anything for her friend. She’s also secretly a very middle-class private school kid who never used to “see colour” (something she is secretly deeply ashamed of).
Michael Workeye plays Zeke, Ṣadé’s unrequited love – a slick-talker and player, full of easy charm and charisma. Completing the foursome is Tayo, played by CJ Beckford, the dry humoured grounding force of the group who seemingly has his life on track.
Speaking about the pilot, Bolu Babalola said "It is quite literally a dream come true to have the opportunity to bring Big Age to life with Channel 4. It's been a great joy to develop these characters and this world over the years, and I am so thrilled that a place that has housed so many of my favourite shows has chosen to help me share it."
"Ṣadé is a young woman with big dreams and a big heart, and Big Age is a celebration of friendship, ambition with heart, and the connections that propel us forward in newly formulating adulthood."
"With great thanks to Tiger Aspect and my wonderful producer and creative partner Amy Annette, I cannot wait for the world to meet (and fall in love with) Ṣadé and the gang."
Channel 4's Head of Comedy, Fiona McDermott, said "When we first read this script, Ṣadé and Dela just bounced off the page. Funny, contemporary, and surprising characters that have a deliciously moreish, comic energy. We knew we needed to see them come to life. We’re so pleased to be working with Bolu on this, her first scripted project, and beyond thrilled that she and Big Age are part of our Black to Front commitment."
And Tiger Aspect's Head of Comedy, David Simpson added "We’re delighted to be making this pilot for Channel 4. Bolu’s writing is funny, nuanced and wonderfully well observed and she has created a set of characters and a friendship at the heart of this that audiences are going to adore. It is also fantastic to be part of Channel 4's Black to Front event championing Black talent on and off-screen."
"It is so important for broadcasters to make these kinds of meaningful commitments and it has been wonderful to see a cast and crew come together at the heart of this production that are absolutely sensational."
Big Age will air Friday 10th September on Channel 4
About Channel 4's Black to Front day...
Channel 4 will broadcast one complete day of television fronted by Black talent and featuring Black contributors this September. Black to Front will champion Black voices and stories and celebrate the incredible Black talent that make, shape and star in British TV.
Black to Front is part of Channel 4’s ongoing commitment as an anti-racist organisation to improve Black representation on and off-screen, amplify the conversations around representation and portrayal, and drive long-term change.
Black to Front was conceived by commissioning editors Vivienne Molokwu and Shaminder Nahal. It will be led by Deputy Director of Programmes, Kelly Webb-Lamb with Vivienne and Shaminder working across the whole day with Melissa Cousins as Project Coordinator. Head of Creative Diversity Babita Bahal and Director of Commissioning Operations, Emma Hardy are also part of the core team.
Big Age will air as part of Black to Front alongside a one-off special of The Big Breakfast fronted by Bafta winning Mo Gilligan and AJ Odudu, a new 4-part reality series Highlife and Countdown, presented by the eminent journalist and broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonald.
Additionally, some of Channel 4’s biggest flagship shows will be fronted by Black talent and featuring Black contributors, including Celebrity Gogglebox and Channel 4 News. Hollyoaks will be an hour-long special entirely written, directed and performed by its Black talent.
And to ensure that Black to Front drives significant and sustainable change within the industry off-screen, Channel 4 is working with The Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity to help shape meaningful off-screen commitments to leave a lasting legacy and to ensure we are addressing specific problems in the industry.