TV

Netflix’s Champion Review: Stop Calling It ‘the New Top Boy’


Candice Carty-Williams’ brilliant new British drama is its own thing

Champion Netflix promo art
Photo: BBC

“What if I don’t like the guy I am now, bro” says Bosco (Malcolm Kamulete). “You have to learn to like him ‘cause you’re stuck with him” says Rusty (Keiren Hamilton-Amos). Watching family dynamics play out on screen never goes out of fashion and BBC’s latest drama Champion is proof of that. 

A love letter to South London, Champion is the first TV project written by Candice Carty-Williams, author of the 2019 novel Queenie, which will also be released as a TV drama on Channel 4 later this year. Champion tells the story of the titular family, focusing mostly on the Champion siblings, rapper Bosco and his sister Vita (Déja J Bowens) as they battle with their sense of duty to their family and their own musical success. 

When the series starts, Bosco is fresh out of prison and trying to make his comeback. But it’s not easy as the police seem to be at every corner, and his past prison life seems to be consuming him. The lasting impact of going to prison turns Bosco into a person he doesn’t know if he can like, let alone deal with. Bosco’s struggling mental state sees him also struggle to make music and contributes to him having his sister Vita writing some of his best songs.

Vita, a talented creative in her own right, has been brought up to practically be an employee by everyone around her including her own mum and dad. Vita works for her parents and writes songs for her brother about how great Black women are, all while never getting an ounce of recognition or being able to have  her own dreams. But when her best friend Honey (Ray BLK) brings her into an opportunity that gives her the potential to be successful in her own right, the already chaotic Champion family dynamic reaches new heights as a much bigger sibling rivalry begins. In Vita’s own words “Well, it’s Champion v Champion now. So, get ready.”

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