Channel 4 (UK)
7 June, 2005 – 17 August, 2006
2 Series, 10 episodes each
So, you’re looking for your British drama fix, something with sex and drugs and teenagers but isn’t Skins? Well, look no further! I present to you, Sugar Rush, 2006 coming of age/coming out UK TV series about fifteen-year-old Kim Daniels (Olivia Hallinan), a lesbian obsessed with her seductive and manipulative best friend Maria “Sugar” Sweet (Lenora Crichlow).
Originally a novel by Julie Burchill, Sugar Rush is set on the South Coast of England along a dreary Brighton Beach, and explores Kim’s struggle with her feelings for Sugar alongside her resentment for her dysfunctional family.
Although the show is aimed at teens, and as a fifteen-year-old myself when I first discovered it, I adored it. I think for anyone who is a fan of, say, Gossip Girl, Skins, or Pretty Little Liars, you’ll know the appeal of watching the drama of young people versus the world. Unlike these shows which show a number of perspectives, however, we follow Kim’s story solely, and she narrates us through the struggles of her sexual and romantic frustrations.
It’s difficult to pinpoint what makes Sugar Rush so particularly good, but I think a lot can be said for it’s examination of sexuality, as well as it’s unapologetic portrayal of sex in general. While Kim would have us believe her world revolves around Sugar, there are plenty of other elements to the show, and other relationships Kim must (often painfully) navigate.
Additionally, while Kim’s distracted mother Stella (Sara Stewart), pathetic father Nathan (Richard Lumsden) and bizarre younger brother Matt (Kurtis O’Brien) are initially only a big joke in the show, by the end of the second season, all the relationships have evolved, and contribute to a lot of the intensity of the show.
I may have been hooked on this show when I younger. That being said, I can guarantee that if you’re after a bit of dark teen drama then Sugar Rush will give you your fix. The show even won an Emmy award in 2006 and was nominated for a BAFTA in 2007, and for good reason. Also, keep an eye out for a young and awkward Andrew Garfield who appears as Tom, Kim’s dopey neighbour!