The Boy George story adapted for TV as Worried About the Boy
There’s something of a 1980s vibe in the air right now with TV shows such as Ashes to Ashes, pop stars like La Roux and posh Tories popping champagne corks. Tapping into this hideous atmosphere is Worried About the Boy (BBC2, Sun 16 May, 9pm), a one-off drama directed by Julian Jarrold which focuses on the days leading up to the manic fame of Boy George, the man who took the gender politics of Bowie, gathered together a melting pot of musicians (hence the name Culture Club) and for a season and half shaped the high street look for a bunch of boys and girls for whom Wham! were just a little too blokey.
The late Malcolm McLaren (played here with arch perfection by Mark Gatiss) may have attempted to stunt Boy George’s rise but with a massive slab of fortune, the lad who preferred a cup of tea to a night of sex became the right crossdresser at the right time, despite having little palpable talent. Of the early 80s British pop era, perhaps only George Michael has a long-term story with similar resonance, with Worried About the Boy flitting between George’s post-Club years of being doorstepped by the tabloids and back to the love affairs with the apparently resolutely straight Kirk Brandon and Jon Moss. Some of the songs might have been a little empty, but Boy George’s story is full of personal pain and speaks of an ultimate tragedy waiting to happen.