E4’s BAFTA nominated teen comedy-drama series is back for its third and final series, with three 1 hour long episodes.
Set in Stamford, Lincolnshire, back in the mid-nineties, Rae Earl (Sharon Rooney) takes us through the ups and downs of her life and thoughts in the style of diary entries. Over the last two series we’ve seen her deal with everyday teenage drama including boys, family feuds, making friends and dealing with college, all after returning from a psychiatric hospital following episodes of severe self-harming. We see her try to cope with depression and anxiety, alongside self-esteem issues about her weight and appearance.
How these issues can be covered side by side with some seriously funny comedy is what makes this programme so special. ‘The gang’, Rae’s wonderfully loyal group of friends, add so many laughs, drunk sing-alongs and adventures, you end up wanting to be part of it.
Add this to a killer play-list and some amazing 90’s outfits – you can’t really go wrong.
Series 3 Episode 1, Who is Stan Ford?
(Spolier alert: If you haven’t seen this episode yet and don’t want to know what happens, this is not the place to be!)
Airing last Monday, the first episode drove us straight back into drama.
The main focus of this episode and series in general, surrounds around Rae’s conflicting dreams for the future. Does she stay in Stamford with her friends and super cute boyfriend (who we’ve watched her lust over for the past 2 years and FINALLY get with at end of series 2) or does she move to her dream city to start university?
We start off seeing Rae massively fuck up (her words, not mine) her Bristol Uni interview. Now this is a stressful time for anyone. I remember walking into my interview and feeling like my whole future depended on this one moment in time. In reality it was a couple of group activities and a 5 minute conversation with a tutor who told me I had an offer anyways…
But in the world of Rae, nothing is ever that simple. With some choice words, a few swears and an amazingly awkward chair scraping moment, it was pretty safe to assume she wouldn’t be moving out of Stamford any time soon.
This all comes in handy when Finn (super cute bf, played by Nico Mirallegro) announces he’s saved up, bought his own flat and wants her to move in with him. This is a seriously BIG deal.
Now like I said before, it’s never that simple in Rae’s world. So of course, moments after celebrating with Finn, she arrives home to a letter offering her a conditional place at Bristol after all, leaving her lying to the people she cares about, whilst she tries to decide what she wants to do.
But let’s go back to Rae and Finn for a second…
Fans of the show will have squealed in excitement along with me, as we saw him FINALLY say those three little words – yep, that happened!
Continuing on with the love-fest, we also see some touching family moments with Rae’s Mum (Claire Rushbrook,) step-dad Karim (Bamshad Abedi-Amin) and new baby sister. Rae promises she’ll find Archie a guy to get down and dirty with and boy does she keep that promise and Chop (Jordan Murphy) gets the worst sentimental tattoo in existence after thinking he’s lived in ‘Stan Ford’ all his live.
Now whenever we’ve seen Rae experience great highs and lows in her life, that’s when her personal demons have affected her the most. It’s her psychiatrist Kester (Ian Hart) who always challenges her to work through her issues rather than hiding from them. So when he drops the bombshell that he’ll soon be ending their sessions, on top of a massive row with Finn when he finds out about the offer – we see her purposely hurt herself for the first time in a year.
It’s these moments of raw helplessness that really make this programme stand out from any other teen drama I’ve seen. To mix such powerfully emotional scenes with comedy is not easy. They don’t skirt around mental health issues, it’s honest and relatable I’m sure, to so many.
We’re taken out of this darkness towards the end of the episode when Rae decides to get the gang together and have the flat warming party to end all parties. She convinces a hesitant Chloe (Jodie Comer) to come along and drive them back from the pub. Chloe is one of those characters that you have a serious love/hate relationship with. She can be a right bitch but she does genuinely care about Rae, so when she notices marks on Rae’s hands whilst driving she freaks out, swerves and narrowly misses oncoming traffic.
You sit there and think wow, that was close and BANG – a car comes crashing into the driver’s side, straight into her.
Will Chloe survive? Well the trailer for the episode 2 completely ruined that cliff-hanger, as we see her giving evils from her hospital bed and a traumatised Rae absolutely wracked with guilt. I’d imagine a massive chunk of the rest of Series 3 will see Rae’s guilt take its toll as she feels responsible for the accident. That on top of the general stress of A-levels, boyfriend drama and plans for the future will make for a testing time for our heroine, but in true Rae style, she’s sure to make it through. I can’t wait to see what we have in store.
My Mad Fat Diary Series 3 episodes air Monday’s at 10pm on E4 or are available to watch along with series 1 & 2 on 4oD.