My Mad Fat Diary

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My Mad Fat Diary
My Mad Fat Diary title.jpg
GenreComedy-drama
Written byTom Bidwell
Directed by
Starring
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes6
Production
Running timeapprox. 45 minutes
Production company(s)Tiger Aspect
Broadcast
Original channelE4 & E4 HD
Original run14 January 2013 (2013-01-14) – present
External links
Website
 
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My Mad Fat Diary
My Mad Fat Diary title.jpg
GenreComedy-drama
Written byTom Bidwell
Directed by
Starring
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes6
Production
Running timeapprox. 45 minutes
Production company(s)Tiger Aspect
Broadcast
Original channelE4 & E4 HD
Original run14 January 2013 (2013-01-14) – present
External links
Website

My Mad Fat Diary is a British comedy-drama television series that debuted on E4 on 14 January 2013. It is based on "My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary" written by Rae Earl.[1]

E4 have confirmed that the show has been renewed for a second series.[2]

Plot[edit]

Set in Stamford, Lincolnshire in 1996, My Mad Fat Diary follows the story of 16-year-old, 231 pound girl, Rae, who has just left a psychiatric hospital, where she has spent four months.[3] She begins to reconnect with her best friend, Chloe, who is unaware of Rae's mental health and body image problems, believing she was in France for the past four months. Rae attempts to keep this information from her while also trying to impress Chloe's friends Izzy, Archie, Chop and Finn.[4]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Characters mentioned on E4 website, but never actually in show:

Recurring cast[edit]

[6] [7]

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Big Wide World[8]"Tim KirkbyTom Bidwell14 January 2013
Episode one opens with Rae being introduced to her new doctor, Dr. Kester Gill, who reminds her that her old doctor requested she keep a diary for her first week out of the mental hospital. Rae flashes back to when she was first released. Her mum picks her up from the hospital and on the car ride home, they run into Rae's old friend, Chloe, who invites Rae to hang out with her and her friends. Rae initially refuses, but agrees when she sees Chloe's attractive friend, Archie. Rae goes to a local pub with Chloe and is introduced to her friends, Izzy, Chop, Finn and Archie. The next day, Rae gets upset when Chloe and her friends don't call and ask her to hang out again. She goes to the pub, where she finds them. After Chloe apologises, Rae has her first conflict with Finn as they both want to choose the music. She then goes on to impress the rest of the gang with her music taste by playing Sabotage by The Beastie Boys. Her new friends invite her to a pool party and she goes shopping with Chloe for a suitable swimming costume to wear. In the changing room, Chloe's cigarette causes the fire alarm to go off, forcing Rae leave the shop in a bikini top, where she is made fun of and spotted by Archie. She then tries to return to the mental home, where her friend, Tix, reminds her that she has a chance for a new life outside the hospital. Tix convinces Rae to go to the pool party where she finds Archie sitting outside. He confides in her that he is nervous about swimming as he's embarrassed that he has back acne. She convinces him to go in and agrees to swim if he does. When she tries to enter the pool by going down the slide, she gets stuck, showing the self-harm marks all over her legs. She laughs it off, joking about her size and gets Chop to help her into the pool. The episode ends with Chloe finding Rae's customised hospital bracelet from Tix. 
2"Touched[9]"Tim KirkbyTom Bidwell21 January 2013
With her best friend, Chloe, in a relationship, Rae also wants a boyfriend, but is worried she'll never get one while she's obese. She gets annoyed with Kester (Dr.Gill) when he asks her to try and look in the mirror and compliment herself more, because she is extremely uncomfortable with her appearance. She's also embarrassed by her lack of sexual experience. Rae unexpectedly gets asked out by Archie, and decides to make a few changes to prepare herself. She goes jogging, borrows a book on sex from the local library claiming it is for her mother, and throws away all the junk food in the house. After discovering the contents of the cupboards in the trash bin and hearing gossip about Rae getting books about sex, Rae's mum grounds Rae for 24 hours as punishment, but Rae sneaks out when Archie comes to pick her up. Archie takes Rae to a closed swimming pool and kisses her. He then invites her for a second date. Chloe and Izzy decide to give her a makeover before the second date. Whilst waiting for Archie to turn up, Finn arrives to let Rae know Archie isn't coming. Finn later visits her to tell her that he thinks that what Archie did was wrong, and encourages Rae to confront Archie. When she does, she is shocked to find out that he is secretly gay. Archie apologises and the two remain friends with Rae promising to keep his secret. 
3"Ladies and Gentlemen[10]"Tim KirkbyTom Bidwell28 January 2013
Rae is invited by the boys to go to Knebworth with them to see a band called Oasis perform. She's happy they got her a ticket until she asks Chop why he invited her, to which he replies because they consider her "one of the lads." She goes outside and is shocked to see Chloe in a car with their PE teacher, Mr. Carrisford, realising he is Chloe's secret boyfriend. Rae disapproves and she and Chloe argue. Chloe confides in her that she is pregnant. She then tells Rae she is going to have an abortion, and is going to tell Mr. Carfisford. When out with the boys, Chop takes out Oasis t-shirts that he has got printed for everyone, with Rae's saying "Raemundo" on the back. She gets mad and refuses to try it on saying that she doesn't like the nickname. She goes to the toilets and discovers there is blood on the back of her skirt caused by her period. She covers the back of her skirt with a sheet of paper and leaves the bathroom to find everyone has left except for Finn, who has his back to her. She sneaks out without him seeing her and once outside, she drops the piece of paper and starts to walk home. A group of boys, who have bullied Rae in the past, appear and make fun of her. Finn shows up and punches the leader, and makes him apologise. As the gang runs off, Finn makes sure Rae is okay. She realises her first impression of Finn was wrong and starts to develop feelings for him. Rae goes to meet the boys to go to Knebworth and thanks Finn for what he did. Chloe is there to see them off and tells Rae that she told Mr. Carrisford about the pregnancy and they broke up. She confirms she is going to have the abortion. Rae decides to miss the concert so she can go to the appointment at the abortion clinic with Chloe. They go back to Chloe's house afterwards, and listen to the Knebworth concert on the radio. Rae tells Chloe that she wasn't really in France, and that she was ill and deliberately injured herself. Chloe begins to question Rae, asking why she would want to hurt herself, but is interrupted by a phone call. It's Mr. Carrisford and he says he wants to talk, so Chloe says she has to go to his house. She asks Rae to stay in her bedroom so her parents think that she is in, leaving Rae alone. 
4"Don't Ever Tell Anybody Anything[11]"Benjamin CaronTom Bidwell4 February 2013
Rae realises she has started to develop feelings for Finn and contemplates telling him. She also decides she wants to tell everyone about her stay in hospital, but Chloe talks her out of it. She begins to worry that Finn will never see her as more than just a friend, prompting a friend from the hospital, Danny Two Hats, to give her some advice about how to get out of the "friend zone." He tells her to treat Finn coldly and remain distant; she does so, which confuses and upsets Finn. Rae's mum announces that she and Karim (her boyfriend) have to go to Tunisia for a few days to stop the United Kingdom Immigration Service discovering him and tells Rae she is not allowed to have any parties. She invites the gang over for a sleep over. She leaves them in her house while she goes to her therapy session. Kester encourages Rae to open up about what triggered her self-harm, but she refuses when Kester won't tell her anything about his life. Rae heads home to discover that the sleep over has turned into a massive party. She is angry when she sees Danny Two Hats is there too, telling everyone he used to date Rae, in an effort to help Rae make Finn jealous. In a game of 'Spin the Bottle', Finn and Rae end up in a closet together, where he confronts her about her distant behaviour. Later, Rae finds him distraught over the death of his grandmother, and the two connect emotionally before falling asleep together. The next day Chloe confesses to Rae that she has a crush on Finn, and Rae's mum returns from her trip to Tunisia announcing she has married Karim so he could stay in the country. 
5"It's a Wonderful Rae Part 1[12]"Benjamin CaronTom Bidwell11 February 2013
Rae and Chloe begin to fight for Finn's affections. Rae's mum discovers her plans to go to a rave with the rest of the gang and forbids her from going. After vomiting while shopping, Rae discovers her medication causes her to feel nauseous if mixed with alcohol. She decides to stop taking her medication when it begins to affect her social life. She then proceeds to get into an argument with her mother after she frees Karim's pet birds in the middle of the night, resulting in them dying. It eventually leads to her mother slapping her and Rae leaving and going to Finn's house. He convinces her to go to the rave where she gets drunk and takes drugs. Finn sees her kissing Archie and comes to the wrong conclusion. Chop confides in Rae, telling her he loves Izzy. She tells him to tell go find Izzy and tell her but they see Izzy kissing someone else, making Chop leave. Rae and Archie look for him but give up, going back into the rave where Rae sees Chloe and Finn kissing. She runs outside upset and passes out on the ground. The next morning Chop gives her a lift home, claiming not to remember the night before. Rae sees Karim with another family. When she gets home she receives a call from Kester, telling her that something has happened to Tix and she is in hospital after Rae failed to show up to a dinner they had planned. 
6"It's a Wonderful Rae Part 2[13]"Benjamin CaronTom Bidwell18 February 2013
In the final episode, Rae is in a very dark place following Tix's deterioration. When she meets the gang in the Fish and Chip shop for a 'de-brief', Chop and Archie leave- and she finds herself feeling awkward after witnessing the kiss between Chloe and Finn. While Finn is in the bathroom, Chloe tells Rae that she has actually started to develop real feelings for Finn. She has a daydream about running Chloe over with a truck, but it is broken when Finn returns. The three sit in silence until Rae decides to leave, forgetting her bag. After she tells her mother she had seen Karim with another family, she finds out that Karim had not cheated on her mother, and that it was just his sister and her children. She finally realizes that she has left her diary at the Fish and Chip shop. When she goes to get it back, the woman behind the counter tells her that her friend took it for her. She runs to Chloe's, but is too late as she has already read it, and Rae is alienated from the group. Rae becomes gradually more and more depressed from having no one to talk to, and tries to commit suicide, only to be run over by a car. She enters a dream like state in which Tix acts to be some sort of guardian angel and shows her what the world would be like without her. After being told that she is in a coma and that her mother, Karim, and Finn are at her beside, she agrees to wake up, only to find she is not in a coma, but still lying on the side of the road. One of the boys that had previously bullied Rae shows remorse for running her over and drives her to the hospital. Rae then goes to see Kester, and they have a heart to heart about Rae's father, who is not around, and about why she had just tried to commit suicide again. He tells her to go to her mother's wedding reception and Rae agrees, changing into the dress her mother had bought her. After Chloe tells Rae to stay away from her and her friends at the reception, Rae decides to give a speech and finally reveals the truth about herself. Chop reveals how he feels about Izzy, and Archie tries to reveal the fact that he is gay, but decides against it. Rae and Chloe make up, Chloe stating that Finn is not interested in her. When she goes looking for Finn, she finds him at the Fish and Chip shop and he tries to tell her something, but fails, so instead he uses their special language and writes "I love you" on her back. She tells him not to say it if he doesn't mean it, but he confirms that he doesn't care if she believes him or not, implying that he does in fact love her. The next day, Rae starts to make an effort to connect with Karim, and they share a tender moment in which Karim tries to explain about the birds in English, but soon converts back to French as he has no clue how to speak English. Rae goes back to Kester for her sessions, and asks whether she needs to be admitted again as she had tried to kill herself. He replies with, "No," so she asks whether she is better to which he replies again, "No." He then goes on to tell her she is in fact ready for therapy. Rae smiles knowing that she is one step closer to getting better. 

Second series[edit]

The show, which drew an average of 1.2 million viewers per episode, has been re-commissioned for a second series[14] and it will begin filming in June/July 2013. It is set to air in February 2014.[15] The second season will continue to air on E4, and will consist of eight episodes.[2]

Critical response[edit]

My Mad Fat Diary has received critical acclaim. The Guardian's Sam Wollaston called it a "lovely drama – honest and painful, real, and very funny," going on to say "Sharon Rooney's performance in the lead is natural, effortless and utterly believable; she should win something for it."[16] The Stage called it "a comedy drama that actually satisfies the criteria of both genres, My Mad Fat Diary offers a unique and uncompromising perspective on adolescent angst that distresses and delights by turns. Visual gimmicks – flashbacks, fantasies and animated squiggles leaping from the page – are used sparingly but effectively, allowing the focus to stay fixed on Rae and Rooney’s commanding and engagingly natural central performance."[17] The Art Desk said "the first episode of this six-part comedy drama is touching, hilarious and perfectly cast." Claire Webb of the Radio Times said the plot is "as uplifting as it is moving, although the banter and gimmicks won't be to everybody's taste."[18] American radio station WBEZ in Chicago, Illinois, called the series "The best television show you aren't watching."[19]

The show also received praise for its honest portrayal of mental health. Brian Semple of "The Independent" calls the show "surprisingly honest, funny and even moving account of what it’s like for a teenage girl to live with serious mental health problems, free of many of the clichés that often inform how mental illness is portrayed on TV," going on to say that Rae "has a mental illness, but it doesn’t define her. It’s just something that she has to deal with and try to manage on a daily basis, just like the one in ten young people in the UK who have a mental illness." Semple refers to My Mad Fat Diary as a "breath of fresh air and will do a lot to change the way young people think about mental health.".[20]

In a more mixed review, Robert Epstein of The Independent criticised E4 for relating the programme to its other teen shows: "If such comparisons are unfair, blame it on E4, whose continuity announcer declared: 'If you like Skins, The Inbetweeners and Misfits, you'll like this.' Well, sorry, I do like those three shows, but, even with a great soundtrack (if only the Mack really would return …) and the odd nice line, My Mad Fat Diary is a long way from the equal of that trio in invention, edge or humour."[21]

My Mad Fat Diary star Sharon Rooney was chosen as one of the first group of BAFTA "Breakthrough Brits" in 2013.[22]

References[edit]

External links[edit]