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The E4/ Netflix Series Inspired By Everyday Sexism

Photo: Courtesy of E4.
Howard Overman, the BAFTA-winning creator of Misfits, says he devised new E4/ Netflix series Crazyhead after watching everyday sexism in action. "I was in London, and this girl was cycling along when this dickhead shouted out, 'Lucky saddle!' She parked her bike and took off her quick-release saddle and called him whatever and walked away. But in that moment, I thought of a character who instead of doing that, took off the saddle and really worked this guy over because he was such a dick! I wanted to see her clout him round the head with it or something. And that gave me the idea of having two really kick-ass women in that sort of role."

This eventually gave birth to Crazyhead's ass-kicking lead duo, Amy (Cara Theobold) and Raquel (Susan Wokoma), two smart, funny and somewhat misunderstood young women who join forces because they're the only ones who can see – and take down – menacing demons emerging from the underworld.

Some people are calling it "the British Buffy" for obvious reasons, but Crazyhead's unique tone makes it stand out: one minute it's gasp-out-loud scary, the next it's laugh-out-loud funny. It also benefits from the infectious chemistry of Wokoma and Theobold, who sat down with Refinery29 to tell us more about this exciting six-part series.

Amy and Raquel are very different characters, and we see in episode one that they don't necessarily bond straight away. So what ultimately brings them together?

Susan: Well, a lot happens to them! They're thrown into this really crazy, high-stakes situation and when you go through fun times and trauma, it brings you together.

Cara: Amy is thrown by Raquel at first because she's such a big personality. Raquel is 100% herself whereas most people tend to hide behind some kind of facade that they present to the world. While Amy is going through this massive realisation that demons are real and she's one of the only people who can see them, Amy is forced to join this person, Raquel, who's completely out there and she's a bit wary. But like Susie says, they do bond and they end up growing and opening up as young women because they sort of get the opposite of themselves in their new friend.

Is it fair to say both Amy and Raquel are outsiders?

Susan: Definitely. When I read the scripts, I was trying to understand why Raquel absolutely latches onto Amy straight away and it's because of that. Raquel has been seeing and fighting demons since she was in her early teens and she's not met another "seer" before, so this is the first person who understands her situation. And Amy happens to be a similar age to her and seems really cool, so obviously Raquel wants them to be friends. That's why it's so heartbreaking when she doesn't immediately feel that connection [from Amy]. But yeah, they're definitely in different ways two outsiders who meet and have this one big, life-altering thing in common.

Cara: Amy has grown up seeing things that other people can't, and while she has a couple of very good friends, she's actually quite isolated. She's at a place in her life where not much is happening; she's just working at a bowling alley and seeing her mates. She's not completely fulfilled, so when Raquel comes along, suddenly the world gets a lot bigger. It's a dream to play because it really is such a huge journey that these two girls go on.
Photo: Courtesy of E4.

Do you think teenage girls especially will find it inspiring? Obviously we see Amy and Raquel literally kicking arse, but it's also powerful watching them take control of the situation emotionally.

Susan: Yeah, I think it's inspiring because they're doing it all on their own terms. I went to see a film recently called Girl with All the Gifts and it was inspiring seeing Gemma Arterton just doing her thing and kicking arse: there was no kind of preachy message, it was just women getting on with it. I think young girls will definitely enjoy this series for that reason and hopefully take something positive from it too.

Cara: There's always a lot of discussion about "strong women" on film and TV but what I love about this show is that although these are definitely two strong women, that doesn't mean they're only tough. They're actually really vulnerable too and both of them have inner demons, so-to-speak. They're flawed heroes and that in itself is inspiring because nobody – man or woman – is strong all the time. And hopefully when girls are watching, they’ll see that. I think that in the very extraordinary world [this show is set in], these characters feel very real in terms of how they communicate with one another and how they deal with the stuff that happens to them. And that feels very inspiring too.

There are so many different shows to binge-watch and catch up on. Why should we make time for Crazyhead?

Cara: If I wasn't in it, I would want to watch it! It's funny, it's scary, it's got a lot of heart, it doesn't take itself too seriously and you get to watch the heroes become heroes as they deal with everything that's thrown at them. At its core, this is a show about friendship and you get to see that develop over the course of the series. And there's this really good actress in it, Susan Wokoma, I don't know if you know her...

Susan: Yasss, she's awesome! I would say the biggest thing, the thing that makes this show so exciting to be a part of, is its ambition. Howard's ideas are so huge and to have that at home on your little TV or laptop is really exciting. You see that a lot on American TV shows – they're set in big, fruitful, complicated worlds where there are all these different rules and mythologies. And this is a British show that absolutely has that. It's bold.

Crazyhead begins Wednesday 19th of October, 9pm on E4 and Netflix.