Big Boys star Izuka Hoyle opens up about season two and making fans ‘feel seen’

Big Boys star Izuka Hoyle speaks exclusively to PinkNews about reprising her role as by-the-book Corinne in season two of Jack Rooke’s hit Channel 4 series, which effortlessly turns the usual gay TV tropes on their head. 

BAFTA-winning screenwriter Rooke’s semi-autobiographical sitcom follows university fresher Jack, portrayed by Derry Girls Dylan Llewylln, as he navigates the loss of his father and confronts his sexuality with the help of his straight roomie and best mate Danny (Jon Pointing).

Straight friend cheerleaders, sub-plot heterosexual romances, kooky side characters and a heartwarming coming out scene are all woven together through effervescent cast chemistry, easily marking Big Boys‘ first season as standout comedy back in 2022.

Now, Big Boys is aiming to recreate the same onscreen magic for season two, as we pick up with Jack, Danny and Corinne for their second year of journalism studies at the University of Brent in 2014.

According to the official synopsis, we can expect the usual chaos as “alongside dealing with virginity hang-ups, drug experimentation (both legal and otherwise) and Jack’s obsession with Alison Hammond, this time round their degrees actually count!”

On taking the role of Jack’s hard-working classmate Corrine, Hoyle tells PinkNews that “it was quite obvious from the [start] that it was going to be a job of a lifetime”.

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“[The set is] the safest playground ever,” she shares. “We all really get on, love each other deeply and love making the show.”

As Hoyle puts it, season two is “much of the same and slightly deeper”.

One thing is for certain, the warmth between Jack, Danny and Corinne will be as strong as ever.

“Working with John and Dylan has been a great experience. It’s definitely also been a learning curve,” the 28-year-old star reflects.

Although she secured a Scottish BAFTA for her role in 2021 thriller Boiling Point, comedy was a brand new experience.

“John is just a joy, it’s like going back to school and learning a different skill,” she continues. “And the same with Dylan, he’s got great comedy chops. They’re just incredibly kind and generous actors.”

Nevertheless, the sheer popularity of the series – which has accumulated a devoted LGBTQ+ fanbase – took even Hoyle by surprise.

She explains: “Most people just want to say thank you to Jack … especially my queer friends or friends that have gone through bereavement or people that have struggled with their mental health.

“[He] created a piece of television that makes people feel very seen from a plethora of categories and minorities.

“We’ve given them a space for them to feel seen and mourn, but also to laugh and to feel light and to feel accepted. It’s quite overwhelming to be honest.”

The main cast in Big Boys season two.
The main cast in Big Boys season two. (Channel 4)

Holye has no doubt that Jack Rooke is “one of the best writers” she has ever – or will ever – work with, “because he’s just so talented”.

The 30-year-old screenwriter breathes life into every character he creates, from grieving widow and fiercely protective mother Peggy (Camille Coduri), to 26-year-old Danny in his battle with depression.

“He lures his audience in with incredibly witty jokes,” Hoyle says, “and then suddenly, the rug is swept from beneath your feet when he hits you with something incredibly real, and perhaps slightly traumatic.

“But instead of just leaving you there for shock value, he comes back and cushions you.”

In particular, Hoyle is thrilled for fans to follow Corinne’s journey in upcoming episodes as she figures out where she and Danny stand romantically, and what she truly wants out of life.

“The coolest thing was getting the first draft of season two and seeing certain things that we’ve collaborated on or Jack knows I can do, or we’ve experienced together on the page. [It] was an honour,” she says.

Izuka Hoyle (centre right) in Big Boys season two. (Channel 4)

“In season two, we find out why [Corrine] is the way that she is.

“We have a little bit more of the boys servicing her … We see a growing relationship with her and [LGBTQ+ society president] Yemi (Olisa Odele) which is fantastic.”

In fact, Hoyle notes that for “a white man”, Rooke is disarmingly good at writing people of colour, although he made sure to consult the cast on any jokes.

In the first season, Corinne encounters micro-aggressions – including repeatedly being misnamed ‘Karen’ – and refers to her brother’s experiences of being stopped and searched.

“It was a way of not making a massive deal about it,” Hoyle explains, “but incorporating it into the storyline so that women of colour that have had those experiences that are watching the show will be like, ‘yes, that’s exactly what happens’, have a laugh, roll their eyes with their friends and then carry on watching it.”

And for any young queer viewers, who may have just come out to their own parents and are seeking comfort in shows like Big Boys, she offers her own words of wisdom.

“Delve into the people that are offering you love and support. Give your soul what it needs,” Hoyle says.

“And if you’re finding solace in the Big Boys family, watch as many times as you need, because we’ve always got you.”

Big Boys season two is now available to watch on Channel 4.

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