Why I’m excited about Boy Meets Girl

A smart, funny new rom-com is always welcome— but when it's also turning clichés on their heads, it really deserves all the hype it gets

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Imagine this: you get a new girlfriend or boyfriend who’s fourteen years older than you. You tentatively tell your parents about it, and as you expected, they’re a bit worried about the age gap. But that’s not the really surprising thing about your new relationship. The part they really didn’t expect is that your new partner is a trans man or trans woman.

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That’s the premise of Boy Meets Girl, BBC2’s new sitcom— and I can’t wait for it to begin this September. Even the pilot, which I saw in February in its fairly early stages, was truly funny and completely life-affirming. At the screening, it even had quite a few hard-hearted journalists wiping their eyes at one point. Its humanity gets you when you least expect it. 

The show centres around trans woman Judy, (played by trans actress Rebecca Root), and 26-year-old Leo (Harry Hepple) who start going out and encounter the usual joys and anxieties of a new relationship, but with a few added complexities.

From the half hour I’ve seen, Boy Meets Girl has the warm, comedic tone of Gavin and Stacey, with the sort of characters who you can’t get enough of— Waterloo Road’s Denise Welch plays Leo’s stressed mum and Benidorm’s Janine Duvitski plays Judy’s hilariously honest and open-minded mum. 

And while I’d be excited about any new, genuinely funny TV rom-com—apart from Channel 4’s Catastrophe, there aren’t many new gems— this one is also breaking TV ground as a BBC show in which the focus is a trans actor.  The six-part sitcom was written by  Elliott Kerrigan, who won the Trans Comedy Award, a talent search run as part of the BBC’s Writers Room project. 

The best moment in this first trailer is when Judy’s mother responds to someone who asks if she misses having a son. “I never had a son, she says jovially, “I had a daughter who came out a bit wrong.” Funny, honest and touching, this one line shows exactly why Boy Meets Girl deserves its hype.   

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See Rebecca Root talk at the Radio Times Festival 

The fight for transgender equality hit newspaper front pages in 2014, when boxing promoter Kellie Maloney announced that she was undergoing gender realignment surgery. This year, Rebecca Root will break new ground by becoming the first transgender sitcom lead in BBC comedy Boy Meets Girl. Here, Kellie will discuss her new book, Frankly Kellie: Becoming a Woman in a Man’s World, as both women talk about busting societal taboos and adjusting to their new lives.