Comedy after Covid: A thanks to the unsung heroes who have kept us laughing through it all - YEP Comment

BBC Three comedy Ladhood returns to our screens on Monday and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

Sunday, 15th August 2021, 4:45 am

Nicely coinciding with a week of annual leave - which I plan to spend doing absolutely nothing - I’m going to get cosy and binge the hell out of the second box set.

If you didn’t catch the first series (lucky you - you’ll have two series to binge on) it’s a hilarious coming-of-age comedy written by Leeds comedian Liam Williams.

It charts the highs and lows of teenage life in Garforth in the early noughties, based on Liam's experiences growing up in the suburb.

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BBC Three's Ladhood will be released as a boxset on iPlayer on Monday (Photo: BBC/Jack Barnes)

Leeds is my adopted home but I didn’t grow up in the North. It didn’t matter. The first series had me in stitches, from watching a young Liam and his mates record an awful hip-hop track to their awkward encounters trying to impress their first loves.

The clever writing is laced with sarcasm and nostalgia, bringing back toe-curling memories of being a teenager that you’d probably rather forget.

I got to sit in on a virtual Q&A session with Liam and the young stars last week as they teased what’s to come in the new series.

Picking up from where the last series left off, it follows a young Liam and his best friends as they navigate GCSE results, driving tests, break-ups and their first big night out in town.

BAFTA-winning Mo Gilligan will bring his tour to Leeds in September (Photo: BAFTA)

Liam’s hopes for the second series? “I hope it continues to have that universal appeal to people and reminds them of their own youth”, he said.

"And that it makes them laugh.”

It struck me how important comedy has been over the last 18 months. With what has felt like a barrage of bad news, shows like Ladhood are bringing some much-needed light relief.

And comedy is making a triumphant comeback to Leeds city centre, too. The director of The Girls of St. Trinian's, a new musical starring students from the University of Leeds, said it was “nice to hear people laughing again” after so long.

Some of the biggest names in comedy will bring their tours to Leeds this year, from Ricky Gervais’ stand-up show at the First Direct Arena (August 21) and Alan Carr’s first tour in four years (Leeds Grand Theatre, September 5), to BAFTA-winning Mo Gilligan’s gig at O2 Academy (September 22).

Comedy has brought me so much joy through lockdowns, from TV shows and snappy social media skits to quick-witted teens on TikTok.

When I’m six episodes into Ladhood on Monday, I’ll be raising a cuppa to Liam and the unsung heroes who have kept us laughing through it all.

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