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Boy George: What I thought of Worried About The Boy

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Fiona Wickham Fiona Wickham | 15:31 UK time, Thursday, 13 May 2010

Worried About The Boy is a new one off drama about Boy George's late teenage years. The story begins before he was famous, and tells the story of him leaving home in the suburbs and becoming a leading figure on the New Romantic club and fashion scene. It leads all the way up to him starting Culture Club and falling in love with Jon Moss.

Boy George spoke to me about how he felt about having a programme made about his personal life - and what he thought of the actors, the costumes and the make up.

Douglas Booth as Boy George stares out of a window in Worried About The Boy

What did you think of the drama?

I watched it on my own to start with. I don't know what I was expecting it to be and I thought I might horrified but it really made me laugh.

I'm not particularly precious about the past anyway so I was never going to lose any sleep over it. But it's beautifully filmed and Douglas Booth is amazing. Somehow he has the stink of me! He just gets it. There's something about him that reminds me of me when I was 17.

There's a few bits of artistic licence. For example, my dad was a Cockney.

Wasn't he Irish?

He was Irish, but he never spoke in an Irish accent so that was quite amusing to see that. But what's great about this is it's captured a really important part of history and that's great. I think it looks brilliant. Steve Strange looks like Caligula - he seems to come off the worst (laughing) but I was chuffed with it actually.

I liked the relationship between me and Marilyn, I thought that was really positive.

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I agree, that was funny and a lot of the scriptwriting made me laugh.

My favourite line is where I'm with the guy in the phone box and he says I'm not really gay and I say, I'm not really a nun. I don't know if I ever did say that but I hope I did! It's quite bitchy.

I mean, here and there, there's a lot of bitching when nobody bitches that way all the time. There's a lot of one liners.

But generally it has a great heart and the styling of it! They've really got the clothing right and there are characters who are based on people who were around at that time and they've really got their looks completely perfect.

And Douglas' make up is just beyond... I laughed my head off! I was like "Oh my God!" - they've done it really well.

Freddie Fox as Marylin in Worried About The Boy

And he's quite beautiful too.

Oh yes, stunning! Absolutely stunning! I think not many people can pull off those kind of looks. They're quite individual - not many people can wear a yellow face and make it look pretty.

So it's a triumph. I was really impressed with his acting - and Freddie Fox too, I thought was really good at Marilyn. In fact I'm having a viewing of the film tonight and Marilyn's coming over with my friends to watch it. The real Marilyn.

I said to him, you won't like it! But you'll be pleased with our relationship in it. Because you know, he hates everything. (laughing)

But I'm really pleased with it, it made me laugh so much.

One of my favourite lines was from Marilyn, when Douglas (as you) says to him, why can I only pull straight men? And Marilyn says back, "Because you're really unattractive to gay men."

(Laughing) It's so true as well!

My relationship with Jon is quite reasonable in this film (laughing). Like when we split up in the end, I was thinking I don't remember it being all that reasonable in real life! It was more frenzied than that.

How did you hear about the film?

I found out about it from my friend who was asked to do the make up. So I called the BBC. I managed to get a few of my friends jobs on it so at least I knew the look would be right.

I was really worried they'd make it look too pantomime because the looks are so extreme and they were specific to people. That's what impressed me the most. Lots of the people who worked on the drama, in terms of the styling and make up and stuff, were people who were around at the time.

My friend Donald McInnes, he's the make up sort of designer and my friend Christine Bateman who does my make up, she worked on it as well. And a girl called Annie Symons who also was around at the time - so pretty good people working on it.

What was your first thought when you heard about them wanting to make a film about you?

I wanted to know what it was about, obviously and I did get the script and I kind of read bits of it and I thought 'Oh I can't be bothered.' It's basically true and there's obviously bits of artistic licence here and there.

Is that scene true, where your Dad is looking at your picture in a magazine and he's saying "So what have you all done? I don't get it. What are you called?" and he just can't get his head round your celebrity.

Yes that's true! Because I wasn't famous but I was getting a lot publicity for looking weird. My mum and dad... I would come home with these photo albums full of cuttings, or they would see me in the Daily Mirror, a fashion spread or I was on the cover of a German magazine. And they were like, well what do you do? You don't work, you're on the dole, you don't seem to get out of bed... how comes?!

Really, when I got the band together, they were so relieved, because it was like alright, now we know what he's going to do. But for three or four years they just did not understand my lifestyle at all.

Douglas Booth as Boy George makes his first appearance on Top Of The Pops

Your dad is portrayed as, although very blokey in the film, he's really accepting and understanding of you.

He was. My dad's dead now, unfortunately but he was amazing. When I came out, I thought he was going to kill me. Absolutely I thought I was dead. Over! Like I better say my prayers now.

And he was absolutely brilliant about it. I've always had their support in that respect and it was amazing to me that my dad was so relaxed about it.

So when you visited the set, you Tweeted about how good Douglas Booth looked and how you were looking forward to seeing the film. Did you talk to Douglas at all?

No I didn't talk to him about what he was doing. When I went up there was the day they were doing the extreme look with the yellow face and sticky up hair. I'd seen pictures of Douglas and thought, he's really beautiful but he doesn't look like me. But when I saw him in the gear, I was like Oh my God, he really does look like me! It's so weird!

We were in this room, we were having breakfast there and he was getting mic'd up and it was really creepy looking across the room thinking, he really does look like me.

Obviously he was playing me when I was 17 and I was a lot more feminine when I was younger. I've morphed into a more rugby type figure since I've got older (laughing) but when I was that age, I was very girlie and androgynous. And he definitely has that, even as a normal person, he has this sort of rock star look about him.

I was watching and when I was there they shot it where he went to the toilet and he's standing up and I said "Oh, I wouldn't have stood up!" (laughing) But that was about it really. I didn't interfere with what they were doing because it was very nice up there and when I saw what they were doing I was really impressed by it.

Mathew Horne as Jon Moss playing the drums for a Culture Club live appearance

What did you think of Mathew Horne as Jon Moss?

Mathew talked a bit like Jon, I know he met Jon before he did it, and they had tea together. His mouth - he's really got Jon's mouth, the way Jon talks. Although Jon was quite posh, he used to talk a bit like that and play act at being a bit of a lad. Mathew must have studied it because he really did get it. I think Mathew's great in it actually.

How do you think back on that period now?

Well you know, they're dealing with certain aspects of it and they have a limited amount of time so you don't get time to really see relationships developing as such. Life is far more complex.

The obvious thing would have been to do a film about Culture Club. That sort of period really shaped a lot of people. It was a really exciting time, we were all living kind of vicariously, squatting, you know, living hand to mouth, kind of hedonistic.

But it was also a great time of discovery and personal discovery, sexuality... so many things were going on you know. And a time of great freedom for us as teenagers so yeah, I think it was an interesting time to choose.

And generally it paints a true picture of what happened at that time.

Fiona Wickham is editor of the BBC TV blog

Worried About The Boy premiered on BBC Two at 9pm on Sunday, 16 May and is available on iPlayer until Sunday, 23 May.

Worried About The Boy is part of BBC Two's Eighties Season

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    enjoyed your boy george

  • Comment number 2.

    I am really looking forward to seeing "Worried About The Boy" as it was a very special and inspirational time for me. It looks an acurate,as well as artistic interpretation of Boy Georges' younger period. I remember seeing him at Hackney Empire in 1987, and it was one of my best memories of London at that time. Thanks for bringing back good drama to T.V.

  • Comment number 3.

    This looks like it is going to be amazing. The photos I have seen of the actors playing George, Jon, Steve Strange, Marilyn are probably the most brilliant recreations of them I have seen done anywhere, at any point in time

    I hope I get to see this! I live in the USA and we only get BBC-America. Needless to say, this won't be airing over here tonight. :-(

    If anyone knows how I can get a DVD of this show, I would greatly appreciate the information. Thanks.

  • Comment number 4.

    What a brilliant piece of television! Loved it so much that I actually went to the trouble of registering for the first time just so I could say so. Love you George! xxxxxxxxxx

  • Comment number 5.

    Just watched 'Worried about a boy'. WOW, really took me back to good times, amazing music, fashion and hair, shame its so tame today. Read up on Georges comments, good to hear his view. Remember all the good and the bad times George had and really interesting to see how it all started. Got a signed photo of George when a teenager, still have it. Well done BBC for putting this drama together. Lot's more of the same please!!!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    I thought 'Worried about the boy' was truly brilliant!

  • Comment number 7.

    I absolutely loved it. Douglas Booth was outstanding and the rest of the cast were wonderful.

  • Comment number 8.

    Boy George was absolutely brilliant!!!! BBC2 80s tonight is class!! Heaven 17, Soft Cell !!!! there should be a lot more 80s on TV Thankyou :)

  • Comment number 9.

    Brilliant is to underestimate this production! It was class with a capital 'C'! Thanks so much, Auntie.


    Hugs to you as well.

  • Comment number 10.

    This drama was fantastic!!!! Oh the memories......
    Douglas Booth was brilliant, as were all the cast. Good one BBC!

  • Comment number 11.

    I enjoyed the program and thought the choice of actors represented the essence of the band and of the time.
    The background music was fab.

  • Comment number 12.

    A brilliant piece of TV on so many levels and one that took us on a journey with George. The team really did they're home work and this showed in so much of the detail of the period.

    As an 80's teenager - I was a MOD but I appreciated all kinds of music and still do. The first few bars of Do Really Want to Hurt Me take me back to happy times...

    PS Can we see more of the TOTP re-creation?

  • Comment number 13.

    Astonishing attention to detail such as the authentic concert posters and records in the background.
    Brilliant to hear a soundtrack which truly reflected what we were listening to - not just a few obvious tracks lifted off a cheesy 80s compilation. A wonderful bittersweet drama with top class casting and production.
    10/10!

  • Comment number 14.

    absolutely brilliant! i too registered just to show my appreciation of this programme! i thought douglas was absolutely outstanding in his portraying of george especially considering hes only 17. the styling and make was absolutely spot on, really brillaint everything about it.
    does anyone know if this will be released on dvd as i really need to have it lol

  • Comment number 15.

    One of the best things i have seen on tv for a long time. Well done BBC just shows you that there is some real talent out there. Great actors and writers and the production was superb. I think you have really done justice to a guy who has such a colourful life.

    I think it could have been produced as a series - I was sorry to see it finish

  • Comment number 16.

    Worried about the boy was the most engaging piece of television that I have seen for a long time. Absolutely excellent. Thats the stuff that sets the BBC apart from the rest, and makes the TV Licence worthwhile. More like this please.

  • Comment number 17.

    Just wanted to add to the praise that this programme has been getting - I thought it was stunning. Really evoked the atmosphere - and the creativity - of that time long before it all got so mediocre and corporate. Really great perfomances all round too.

    More TV of this high calibre please!!

  • Comment number 18.

    Brilliant piece of TV history.
    As a massive Culture Club fan back in the 80s - going to the Bham Odean, Wembley, the 'Kiss Across the Ocean' (i have still got the VHS tape) screening at the Dominion Theatre, and recently seeing George at the Alexandre Theatre in Oct 2008. This made great viewing and bought back some fantastic memories of my younger years.
    I watched parts of it again this morning and then played 'White boys' in the car all the way to work.
    I thought Douglas was made for this role - well done.
    Loved it, lets have more please BBC.

  • Comment number 19.

    Wow!!...Best TV I have ever seen! It was excellent and I think it would have made a great series or feature film. I am not a big fan of revisiting the 80's but it made me want to go out and visit that club! Amazing ... loved the makeup, costumes and most of all the music which was not cliched. It made me realise how bland our stars are today. Douglas Booth deserves an oscar. Love you George and well done BBC x

  • Comment number 20.

    An excellent drama, great acting. One thing - there was a song with words "stay now - say goodbye" repeated and a great sax but because of my age I can't remember the group and its driving me crazy. Can anybody help me please. Thanks.

  • Comment number 21.

    A minor point, but it's annoying when details are wrong in period dramas, and when Boy George was banging on Kirk Brandon's front door, the door was one of those nasty, present-day, white UPVC things, which were certainly not around in the 1980s!

  • Comment number 22.

  • Comment number 23.

    Msg 22 was in answer to david1796 in msg 20 btw.

  • Comment number 24.

    Was 'Stay Now' by Hazel Dean? Remember her dressed as a space girl in the video. x

  • Comment number 25.

    It could be 'Will You' by Hazell Dean but can't find it on you tube.

  • Comment number 26.

  • Comment number 27.

    Twas Hazel O'Connor not Dean!

  • Comment number 28.

    Absolutely loved the movie. The costumes and the acting were amazing. Everyone was wonderful but Mathew Horne was great as Jon Moss. It's funny because I've never liked him in anything else but he was brilliant in this. I want the DVD. But I'm puzzled about something. In this interview, Boy George said he loved the movie, but on twitter he said it was badly written and inaccurate. I can't imagine what he couldn't love about it. It was very positive towards him. I believe Mathew Horne said George was a consultant on the movie and gave advice so not sure why he is complaining now. I hope George reconsiders because it was a great movie.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    Loved the acting, costumes, settings and backing music. Bought back many fond memories of that time in my life. Thank you BBC and I do hope it will be on DVD soon too.

  • Comment number 31.

    Totally enjoyable. Thanks.

  • Comment number 32.

    Total rubbish !

  • Comment number 33.

    I loved it

  • Comment number 34.

    A big thank you for identifying Hazel O'Connor - I can now sleep easy.

  • Comment number 35.

    You're welcome.

  • Comment number 36.

    Worried about the boy - fantastic drama - thank you BBC. More of the same please. Great to read Boy George's comments as well.

  • Comment number 37.

    Hello everyone, thanks for all your comments - glad you enjoyed Worried About The Boy - I've watched it twice.

    soostark and thumberlina - thanks for registering especially! Welcome to the blog.

    About the DVD release, gmansgal1, Simone67 and jo-anne - I have good news for you. It's out on 5 July!

    Simone67 - Boy George has tweeted a few times about Worried About The Boy and this is the most current. He was very clear in the interview with me that overall he liked the drama a lot, and that he enjoyed watching it.

    Cheers everyone.

  • Comment number 38.

    I have watched it twice too! I am far too old to have been on the 'Blitz Scene' but that clip where the group are off to the club all dolled up walking along the street just makes me feel great!

  • Comment number 39.

    WHat a great programme - wish I could see it again! It left me in such a great mood (even though there are some really dark moments) because it evoked the whole freedom and excitement of the time.

    Oh and I went straight over to my CD's for some 80's listening!

  • Comment number 40.

    I loved this so much!! Like being able to go back in time...if only. For me Culture Club and Boy george sum up the early 80s, everything was so excitng and fashion and music were so ground breaking. I remember it as such a colourful time and still we were relatively innocent in comparison to teens today. I remember watching Culture Clubs first appearance on Top of the Pops and my mum, dad and grandparents all arguing over wether Boy George was actually a boy or a girl and how utterly ridiculous he/she looked, ofcourse i found it all so annoying as they just didnt get it!! For me Boy George has always had such an amazing personality and finally, finally to have this explored as a drama was long overdue and just left me wanting to know even more about him. So as you can probably tell this was a 10/10 programme from the BBC as fas as i'm concerned, so more like this please..maybe next time Spandau or Duran Duran...Bliss.

  • Comment number 41.

    I missed this being air'd and only heard about it retrospectively after all the positive buzz that was created. Why isnt it on BBC iPlayer?!!! Just thankful i subscribe to Graboid where it was popular enough to be available in the States
    ENJOY!!!!

  • Comment number 42.

    I Loved Worried about the boy, im going to buy it on dvd!!, thats how much i loved it!!! Douglas Booth was outstanding as George,and i was a big big fan of Culture Club and Boy George in my early 'teens' and he had the mannerisms of George down to a tee!! i was taken back to those Halcion days watching this film...i saw Culture Club at the Hammersmith Odeon(as it was then) in 1983 -my first ever concert, which this film brought right back to me! absolutely Faboulous!!! Douglas WAS George...that boy will go far!!!!

  • Comment number 43.

    Great program with classic music which brought back loads of memories. But why (as at the end of a number of other programs 'Ashes to Ashes' included) did you presenter talk over the music at the end just to advertise a program on another channel. Very very annoying and really spoilt the enjoyment of the ending.
    Please stop doing this. It doesn't make me watch the advertised channel/program. Quite the opposite.

 

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