“A Definite Success” – TV Review: Top Boy

Beatrice Oladeji

Fans will remember when the show first hit our screens back in 2011 on Channel 4, before its cancellation in 2013. Now, the series is back for the fourth time since its renewal in 2019 after Canadian rapper Drake bought its rights in 2017. In this four-part series, the fictional Summerhouse Estate in Hackney gives its audience a dramatised look into drug gang culture in London. Beatrice Oladeji reviews.

Last month, series 4 of Top Boy hit our screens on Netflix and expectations this time around were high. It has been over two years since the third series due to COVID-19 slowing down production. However, it was worth the wait and I am sure you can agree that it is one of the most action-packed series to date.  

Dushane (Ashley “Asher D” Walters) is back and this time he wants to build a life outside of drugs and crime with his girlfriend Shelly (Simbiatu “Little Simz” Ajikawo). However, this is not before first strengthening ties with his drug connections in Spain and Morocco where this series is partially set.

there are quite a few new characters, some I have mixed feelings for

Sully (Kane “Kano” Robinson) also tries to opt for a quieter life living on a boat, until his niece, Pebbles (Erin Kellyman) gets herself into trouble with members of a gang, and he is unwillingly sucked back into street life in attempts to save her. And Jamie (Michael Ward) is finally released from prison but is met with hostility at home, and we see him struggle to reinstate the respect he once had on the streets.

This series is a definite success filled with many shocking twists and heart-pounding moments. There are quite a few new characters, some I have mixed feelings for (Pebbles I am looking at you), and some that are thoroughly enjoyable to watch, particularly Curtis (Howard Charles) who is an abusive and controlling boyfriend from Liverpool. You know the actor is doing their job when you start to hate their character, which I definitely did.

Series 4 also touches on extremely important social issues that are very relevant, including social housing issues, police brutality, abusive partners, hate crime, and other very important topics that do not get enough attention in the media.

The amount slang used is very inauthentic and played-out

One thing I’m not a fan of is the amount of subplots, which in itself is not always a bad thing if done correctly. However, in this instance not all of them are needed because the main storyline is engaging enough, and at times the extra narratives feel pointless and underdeveloped.

Furthermore, I am aware the show is for entertainment, but I do believe some parts were overly dramatised and just plain unrealistic. For one, no one uses that many ‘innits’ and ‘bruvs’ in a sentence and the amount slang used is very inauthentic and played-out. I wouldn’t say it takes away from the series though, it’s just annoying. Also the quality of acting could definitely be stronger from some of the actors, especially considering we have so many talented British actors in this country that would absolutely smash some of these roles.

Overall, I really enjoyed watching this series and it is a very good follow-up to series 3. Unfortunately, twitter spoiled it for me so I knew the ending before it finished, but regardless it is still a huge shocker. I found myself on edge for a lot of it, the overall storyline was unpredictable and left me guessing which I really liked, and I am definitely looking forward to the next (and allegedly final) series of Top Boy.  

Beatrice Oladeji

Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

In-article image courtesy of @topboynetflix via No changes were made to this image.

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