Wessex on Screen: Coming of Age

Coming of Age was a BBC Three sitcom about sixth form students set in Abingdon, though mostly filmed at the BBC Television Centre in That London. A pilot, with several of the leads played by different actors to those featured in the eventual series, was broadcast on 21st May 2007. The brainchild of Tim Dawson, who was 19 when he first started writing it, it was very much a freshman effort, filled with obvious gags and broad performances from its young leads. It was, however, immensely popular with its late-teenage target audience, pulling in over a million viewers per episode and running for three seasons from 2008.

Critics were less kind. Harry Venning pretty much summed up the critical consensus, writing :

I sat through Coming Of Age with the will to live seeping from my every pore, leaving me drenched in a puddle of despair. 

The Stage, 13 October 2008

Venning was presumably not a teenager when he wrote that, though. If the success of Coming of Age proves anything, it's that audiences respond to seeing themselves more or less accurately represented more than they analyse the polish of the finished product.

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