Set amongst the brit-pop backdrop of 1990s England, My Mad Fat Diary (2013-15) explores the complex life of 16-year-old Rae Earl (Sharon Rooney) and her group of friends as she struggles with issues of mental health and body dysmorphia.
When the show began in 2013, being aired on Channel 4’s (then) sister channel E4, I was instantly drawn to the programme through the investment that is created between the audience and protagonist Rae. My Mad Fat Diary stood out amongst the other shows available for younger audiences due to its gritty, realistic representation of mental health amongst teenagers. Although Rooney’s performance of Rae is one to be remembered, her psychiatrist Dr Kester, portrayed by the talented Ian Heart, captured my attention instantly through the unique, personal and warm bond formed between the two characters.
Even though My Mad Fat Diary aired for its final, heart-wrenching (but uplifting) episode 5 years ago, the show will always remain my go-to if I’m feeling down and need picking up. Not only is the show an intense exploration into the psyche of Rae, but also it will always remain an uplifting story of love, friendship and loss which will remain relevant no matter what year you watch it in.
I’ve also got to mention the incredible Jodie Comer, who at the point of filming My Mad Fat Diary was a small name in British television but is now a multi award-winner after her role in the popular comedy-drama Killing Eve (2018-). Her performance as Rae’s kind-hearted but naive best friend shows how easy it is to not realise what someone is truly going through and that checking up on people is a simple but important way to help someone who may be silently struggling.
I thank My Mad Fat Diary for awakening me to the incredible sounds of the 90s, introducing me to the world of Oasis and The Verve who, to this day, remain two of my all-time favourite bands. Alongside the incredible acting of the brilliant young cast, My Mad Fat Diary has a soundtrack full of back-to-back bangers which allow an even greater insight into music-obsessed Rae.
Watch the trailer for My Mad Fat Diary below: