The Inbetweeners is a British coming-of-age sitcom television series, which originally aired on E4 from 2008–2010, that was created and written by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris. The series follows the misadventures of suburban teenager Will MacKenzie (Simon Bird) and his friends Simon Cooper (Joe Thomas), Neil Sutherland (Blake Harrison) and Jay Cartwright (James Buckley) at the fictional Rudge Park Comprehensive. The programme involves situations of school life, uncaring school staff, friendship, male bonding, lad culture and largely failed sexual encounters.
|Created by||Damon Beesley|
|Written by||Damon Beesley|
|Directed by||Gordon Anderson|
|Narrated by||Simon Bird|
|Opening theme||"Gone Up in Flames" (instrumental) by Morning Runner|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||18 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Damon Beesley|
|Production location(s)||West London|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Bwark Productions|
|Picture format||16:9 (576i SDTV)|
|First shown in||United Kingdom|
|Original release||1 May 2008 –|
18 October 2010
The programme was nominated for Best Situation Comedy at BAFTA twice, in 2009 and 2010. At the British Academy Television Awards 2010, it won the Audience Award, the only category voted for by the public. In the 2011 British Comedy Awards, the programme also won the award for Outstanding Contribution to British Comedy.
An American version was broadcast on MTV, but quickly axed after low ratings and poor critical reception.
Damon Beesley and Iain Morris met as producers on Channel 4's The 11 O'Clock Show. Following posts as commissioners at Channel 4, where Morris shepherded Peep Show, the two launched their own company, Bwark Productions, in 2004 and landed their first series with The Inbetweeners. A pilot for the programme was produced in 2006 under the direction of James Bobin titled "Baggy Trousers".
E4 originally aired the first series in May 2008, and Channel 4 also broadcast it in November that year. The second series began screening in the UK on 2 April 2009 and finished on 7 May 2009. A third series was commissioned by E4, commencing on 13 September 2010 and ending on 18 October 2010. The first episode of the third series had the highest-ever audience for an E4 original commission. Following the conclusion of the third series, the cast and crew of the programme indicated that there would be no fourth series as the programme had run its course, but that an Inbetweeners movie would be produced, set some time after the third series and following the cast on a holiday in Malia, Crete, Greece.
For Red Nose Day 2011, the stars of the programme travelled around the UK in the yellow Fiat Cinquecento Hawaii featured in the programme in a special named The Inbetweeners: Rude Road Trip. The aim was to try to find the 50 rudest place names in the country.
In November 2018, it was announced that a special retrospective programme featuring the cast would be aired to mark the 10 year anniversary of the programme's first airing in 2008. It was called Fwends Reunited and was broadcast on 1 January 2019; it was poorly received by critics and fans of the series, leading to James Buckley making a public apology.
The four main characters are seen in every episode as well as the 2011 and 2014 films. They consist of:
- Will McKenzie (Simon Bird) is the programme's central character, with his voiceover introducing and concluding each episode. In the first episode, he has been transferred from a private school, following his parents' divorce, to Rudge Park Comprehensive, where he eventually befriends the others. He is an unconventional hero – although he is generally the most intelligent and logical of the group, he is prone to making bad choices and his sarcasm occasionally leads to him making offensive and shocking statements. Will is diligent, mild-mannered and eager to get into a good university. However, he is shown to be romantically awkward, and pessimistic about his chances, due to his awareness of his lack of any kind of good looks or social grace.
- Simon Cooper (Joe Thomas) is the most cynical and hot-headed of the group, being prone to bouts of hysterical swearing at the slightest provocation – such as gentle goading, family rules, or even well-meaning advice – from his family or peers. However, he is also shown in several scenes to be the most trustworthy of the group, and he maintains a closer relationship with Will than any of the others. Simon considers himself to be the most romantic of the boys, his on-off relationship with Carli propelling many of the plots.
- Jay Cartwright (James Buckley) is the most immature and arrogant of the boys. He is also the most vulgar and harbours a generally misogynistic outlook. He is obsessed with sex, with almost all his comments being about the subject. He falsely claims to be the most sexually experienced of the group. He frequently tells wild and fictitious stories about his experiences (sexual or otherwise), and hands out highly ridiculous advice (such as claiming that inserting the testicles into the vagina during sex is something "some girls like and some don't"), which demonstrates that in reality he has very little understanding of the subject discussed, also substituting crude nicknames for the vagina. In fact, he is actually the least sexually experienced of the group, frequently relying on pornography to attain gratification, as he finds it difficult to engage with girls. In addition to his sexual stories, Jay compulsively lies about just about anything to make himself seem interesting, no matter how unbelievable.
- Neil Sutherland (Blake Harrison) is known to be the dim-witted, gentle and gullible "nice guy" member of the group. He often fails to appreciate that he is responsible for the bad situations he causes, and fails to pick up on sarcasm, often taking comments seriously and consistently believes Jay's compulsive and blatant lies. Neil's simpler mind means he is often happy and positive and he displays less of the selfishness and obsession with sex as the others. He tends to be the most sexually experienced member of the group.
- Carly D'Amato (Emily Head) is Simon's main love interest. She demonstrates a good deal of influence over her peers, including school bullies. She and Simon have been friends since the age of eight, and this likely accounts for Simon being able to approach a girl in such a different social circle. Generally, Carly is selfish and has little romantic interest in Simon but uses his obvious infatuation to her own advantage.
- Charlotte Hinchcliffe (Emily Atack) is the most attractive and popular girl in the school. She is very confident and a year above the four boys. Unlike most of the popular girls, Charlotte is kind-hearted and genuinely likes Will and most other classmates. She mentions to Will that she has had "eleven lovers already", and is held in very high regard by the boys.
- Mr Gilbert (Greg Davies) is an archetypal comprehensive school teacher. Misanthropic and authoritarian, he has no interest in his work and treats his pupils with hatred. As head of sixth form, he answers to the headmaster of the school. Physically, he is very tall and stocky, which everyone finds intimidating, being described by Will as a "lunatic giant". He has a quick-wit and sardonicism, which he uses to convey his disillusionment of his job and the children for whose care he is responsible. Will attempts to endear himself often with Mr Gilbert and is rebuffed. Mr Gilbert evidently wants a quiet life and rather than ensuring fairness between the children he merely ignores situations and moves on, often leaving things unresolved. He has an intense dislike for Will and Jay.
- Mark Donovan (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) is Will's nemesis, often picking on him to fulfill his role as the school bully. Like many bullies, Donovan displays the persona of being friendly and patient in front of parents or teachers. However, he occasionally reveals his sensitive side to Will, though threatens him with death if he speaks of it.
- Polly McKenzie (Belinda Stewart-Wilson) is Will's Mum. She is very attractive and a principal object of Will's friends' desires, who often crudely mention how they would like to see her sexually. Neil has often asked Will if he can ask her out, with Will always saying no.
- Pamela Cooper (Robin Weaver) is Simon's Mum.
- Alan Cooper (Martin Trenaman) is Simon's loving and protective Dad, though he often embarrasses him when talking about his sexual adventures with his mother.
- Terry Cartwright (David Schaal) is Jay's Dad. He regularly abuses Jay in front of his peers, and does not take him seriously regarding his sexual exploits. He is very similar to Jay in ways as they have a similar sense of sexual 'humour' as Jay gets multiple traits from him.
- Kevin Sutherland (Alex Macqueen) is Neil's Dad. He is divorced and is often portrayed as a closeted gay man, which he always denies. The boys frequently make fun of Neil because of this.
- Big John (John Seaward) is a fellow student. John is one of the new kids who start school on the same day as Will. He is often referred to as one of the freaks and is often seen as a social outcast whom the boys try to avoid.
- Tara Brown (Hannah Tointon) is Simon's girlfriend for half of Series 3.
Episodes of the first, second and third series can be viewed in Ireland, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Australia and USA through Netflix. Channel 4's catch-up service All 4 also carries it in the UK and Ireland. All three series are also available on YouTube, along with The Inbetweeners: Rude Road Trip and Top Ten Inbetweeners Moments.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||6||1 May 2008||29 May 2008|
|2||6||2 April 2009||7 May 2009|
|3||6||13 September 2010||18 October 2010|
The opening theme tune to The Inbetweeners is an instrumental version of "Gone Up In Flames" by English rock band Morning Runner. The first series also features music by Rachel Stevens, Tellison, Paolo Nutini, The Maccabees, Air Traffic, Calvin Harris, The Ting Tings, Arctic Monkeys, Theaudience, The Fratellis, Vampire Weekend, Two Door Cinema Club, Mystery Jets, Kid British, Phoenix, General Fiasco, Gorillaz, Hot Chip, Belle & Sebastian, Field Music, Jamie T, The Libertines, Rihanna, Oasis, Jack Peñate, Guillemots, The Feeling, Kate Nash, The Wombats, The Jam, The Cure, Lily Allen, Mumm-Ra, Kylie Minogue and Feist. The second series also featured instrumentals of Adele, Supergrass, Biffy Clyro, Passion Pit, Royworld, MGMT, Maxïmo Park, and The Cribs and the third series also featured instrumentals of Ludacris and Mr Understanding by Pete and the Pirates. A full list can be found on the E4 website. A soundtrack album, The Inbetweeners Soundtrack, was released in 2009.
The Inbetweeners has received generally positive reviews from television critics. At Metacritic, the first season earned a score of 73 out of 100, based on 7 reviews, indicating "Generally favorable reviews".
Joe McNally, writing for The Independent, commends an "exquisitely accurate dialogue, capturing the feel of adolescence perfectly" and Will Dean of The Guardian comments that the programme "captures the pathetic sixth-form male experience quite splendidly". The series is often contrasted with E4's successful teen drama, Skins; commentators have offered that "The Inbetweeners' portrayal of dull suburbia is closer [than Skins] to the drab teen years most of us spent, rather than the decadent time we wished we spent."
The first series began on 1 May 2008, with the pilot episode garnering 238,000 viewers. The series averaged 459,000 viewers, with 474,000 viewers watching the series finale. The Inbetweeners received two nominations at the British Comedy Awards; the programme was nominated for "Best New British Television Comedy (Scripted)" and Simon Bird was nominated for "Best Male Comedy Newcomer". Both won their respective categories. The programme was also voted by the British Comedy Guide website as the "Best New British TV Sitcom 2008". It was nominated for "Best Situation Comedy" at the British Academy Television Awards 2009, ultimately losing out to The IT Crowd. It then won the Audience Award at the British Academy Television Awards 2010.
The first episode of series two, which aired on E4 at 10 pm (BST) 2 April 2009, averaged 958,000 viewers, with another 234,000 viewers watching at 11 pm on the time-shift channel E4 +1 meaning it was watched by 1.2 million, the highest audience of 2009 for E4.
Episode one of series three aired on 13 September 2010 on UK digital terrestrial network E4, attracting a record breaking overnight average audience of 2.6m viewers (12.5% audience share) in its 10 pm slot, the highest ever viewing figure for a programme screened on the channel until 2011 when Glee beat the record. For this series, it was moved to Monday instead of Thursday but kept its 10pm slot.
- Best New TV Comedy, British Comedy Awards 2008
- Best Male Comedy Newcomer (Simon Bird), British Comedy Awards 2008
- Best New British TV Sitcom, The Comedy.co.uk Awards 2008
- Best Comedy Show, TV Quick & TV Choice Awards 2009
- Nominated for Best Situation Comedy, British Academy Television Awards 2009
- Best TV Show, NME Awards 2010
- Best Television Comedy Actor (Simon Bird), British Comedy Awards 2009
- Nominated for Best Male Performance in a Comedy Role (Simon Bird), British Academy Television Awards 2010
- Nominated for Best Situation Comedy, British Academy Television Awards 2010
- YouTube Audience Award, British Academy Television Awards 2010
- Best Situation Comedy, Rose d'Or Awards 2010
- Digital Choice National Television Awards 2011
- British Comedy Academy Outstanding Achievement British Comedy Awards 2011
- Nominated for Best Male Performance in a Comedy Role (James Buckley), British Academy Television Awards 2011
- Best Comedy, 2012 Empire Awards
In 2010, The Inbetweeners started airing in Australia on the Nine Network's digital channel GO!, on Super Channel in Canada, on the comedy channel TV4 Komedi in Sweden, on TV2 in New Zealand, on MTV Latin America. In Israel, yes Next aired the first two series, while the third series airdate is unknown. The three seasons came in 2012 to HOT VOD. In 2011, the series was premiered in Brazil on I.Sat and on 13 August 2013 the Brazilian streaming site "Muu" premiered the British production.
|United Kingdom||E4/Channel 4||1 May 2008|
|Argentina||MTV Latin America||23 July 2010|
|2010 (MTV Brasil)|
|Colombia||MTV Latin America||2010|
|France||MCM; NRJ12||28 February 2011|
|India||Comedy Central (India)||2012|
|1 May 2008|
9 January 2012
|6 December 2011|
|Norway||NRK 3||Summer 2011|
|Russia||2x2||31 November 2011|
|United States||BBC America||25 January 2010|
- Series 1 was released on DVD on 2 June 2008.
- Series 2 was released on DVD on 18 May 2009.
- Series 1–2 boxset was released on DVD on 18 May 2009.
- Series 3 was released on DVD on 25 October 2010.
- Series 1–3 boxset was released on 25 October 2010.
- The Inbetweeners Movie was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 12 December 2011 in the UK.
- The Inbetweeners 2 was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 1 December 2014 in the UK.
All of the DVDs received an 18 certificate in the United Kingdom and MA15+ in Australia due to their high number of strong language, crude humour and strong sex references. The theatrical version of The Inbetweeners Movie received a 15 certificate in the United Kingdom, with the extended cut release receiving an 18 certificate.
In September 2009, Beesley and Morris confirmed that a film had been commissioned by Film4. The plot revolves around the four boys, now eighteen years old, going on holiday to Malia, Greece. It was released in cinemas on 17 August 2011 with a 15 certificate in the UK. The original film was also released in the United States on 7 September 2012, but it was very unsuccessful. From a budget of £3.5 million, the film made a global box office of over £57 million.
At the beginning of August 2013, creators Iain Morris and Damon Beesley confirmed that a second Inbetweeners film would be made with a planned release date of 6 August 2014 in the UK and Ireland; they released a statement saying "We couldn't be more excited to be making another Inbetweeners movie. A new chapter in the lives of the Inbetweeners feels like the very least we can do to thank the fans for their phenomenal response to the first movie." This sequel is set in Australia.
There have been two books released:
- The Inbetweeners Yearbook was released by Century Books on 29 September 2011. ISBN 1846059275
- The Inbetweeners Scriptbook was released by Century Books on 25 October 2012. ISBN 1780891059
In 2008, Iain Morris and Damon Beesley were asked by ABC to produce a pilot for a US version of The Inbetweeners. The pilot was not picked up by the network, but they have given Morris and Beesley a second blind script commitment for a future project which the two will create.
On 31 March 2011, it was announced that MTV had ordered a 12-episode first season for a U.S. version of The Inbetweeners. A pilot episode, written by Brad Copeland, was given the green light in September 2010. Copeland also serves as executive producer on the series along with Beesley and Morris. The series ran for one season from 20 August to 5 November 2012, before being cancelled by MTV due to low ratings.
The US version began airing in the UK on 5 December 2012 on E4. A UK DVD release of the US version was released on 8 January 2013. The US version was broadcast on Viacom-owned Freeview channel Viva from 4 August 2014.
On 1 January 2019, Channel 4 broadcast a 10-year anniversary special entitled 'Fwends Reunited', hosted by Jimmy Carr. The four lead actors were present alongside supporting cast members; the title is a reference to a joke within the episode Will Gets a Girlfriend. The special itself was a chat show with multiple segments including a quiz with four fans, a history of the programme's production hosted by Neil Oliver, and awards based on the programme's best characters and moments. The special was met with a mostly negative reception from critics and fans alike; criticism from general viewers was primarily aimed at it being a simple chat show when a number of fans had mistakenly anticipated it as being a one-off special episode. The Independent noted the "overwhelmingly negative responses" the special received, which included criticism from viewers towards the host Jimmy Carr, viewers claiming the four actors appeared uninterested in the special, while there was also disappointment that they were not given a chance to speak more. Michael Hogan of The Daily Telegraph dubbed it a "shambolic mess that failed to do the show justice", although a more positive review came from Sean O'Grady of The Independent, who considered it "full of nostalgia". The extensive criticism led to James Buckley issuing an apology through Twitter.
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