Netflix’s darkly comic new series The End of the F***ing World (a co-production with Channel 4), which sees two young outcasts embark on a road trip across Britain to escape their unhappy home lives, is led by fantastic performances from two up-and-coming young British actors – Alex Lawther and Jessica Barden.
Find out everything you need to know about the young stars below.
James – played by Alex Lawther
Who does Alex Lawther play? An awkward, monosyllabic teen – on the verge of his 18th birthday – who has developed murderous tendencies in the years since his mother’s death. In true serial killer tradition, he started off with small animals, but he reckons he’s ready to move onto “something bigger” – and there’s a new girl at school showing an unusual amount of interest in him who might fit the bill…
Where have I seen Alex Lawther before? 22-year-old Lawther has carved out somewhat of a niche for playing socially awkward characters, including a young Alan Turing in 2014’s The Imitation Game, and a maths whizz in heartbreaking autism drama X + Y.
But he is probably best known for his more recent roles in season three of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror – he played a teenager who is blackmailed with a particularly shudder-inducing webcam hack in Shut Up and Dance – and this year’s movie Goodbye Christopher Robin, in which he plays a grown up-version of the titular character.
Alyssa – played by Jessica Barden
Who does Jessica Baren play? A brash, self-confident teenage girl who communicates in insults and sweary tirades. A new arrival to James’s school, she picks the outcast out of the crowd, on the basis that he doesn’t look or act like their fellow classmates.
Her self-obsessed mother and perverted step-dad have started a new life without her, to which she seems to be superfluous, so she enlists James to help her track down her estranged father.
Where have I seen Jessica Baren before? The 25-year-old actor kickstarted her career in the role of Kayleigh Morton on Coronation Street in 2007, before starring alongside Saoirse Ronin in Irish-produced action film Hanna.
In 2015, she starred alongside Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in Yorgos Lanthomos’ absurdist comedy The Lobster, displaying the same icy deadpan which she employs to great effect in The End of the F***ing World. She recently guest-starred in the third series of Penny Dreadful alongside Billie Piper.
The End of the F***ing World is now streaming on All4 and Netflix UK.