Believe it or not but it’s ten years since The Inbetweeners first premiered and exposed the embarrassing lives that all sixth-formers lead behind closed doors.
Based on the lives of its creators Damon Beesley and Iain Morris the series followed Will (Simon Bird) who, when his mum divorces his dad, is forced to leave his plush private school and attend a regular state sixth form. The horror!
While there he manages to make friends with Simon (Joe Thomas), a hopeless romantic in love with the girl-next-door, Jay (James Buckley), a compulsive liar and chronic virgin, and Neil (Blake Harrison) a man so thick you could spread him on toast.
Over three series and two movies the gang embarrassed themselves across their school, the country and eventually the world.
From insulting a special needs class, wearing a tramp’s rather smelly shoes, sleeping with an older lady with a ravenous sexual appetite and even sh*tting themselves, there’s literally no way to embarrass yourself that one of the boys hasn’t managed.
And yet despite cementing themselves as perhaps the most socially inept foursome to grace our screens in over a decade they also cemented themselves in our hearts.
Because in my personal experience everyone has had an ‘Inbetweener’s moment’ and for a brief time experienced what the boys went through every day, although I pray none of you has ever punched a fish.
Cultural commentator Will Dean put it best when he said The Inbetweeners is closer to ‘the drab teen years most of us spent, rather than the decadent time we wished we spent’ and it’s a sentiment that series co-creator Damon Beesley agrees with.
He told UNILAD:
Yes, let’s be clear no one’s adolescence is like the kids in Skins, I remember watching it and not realising they were supposed to be 16, you know? I loved it, but I always thought they were 23 or something, you know?
They were taking part in orgies, and you know [laughs] it was just incredible! And we always knew really that Skins was the glossy fantasy of what it’s like to be 16 and we [The Inbetweeners] were the grubby reality of what it really is.
Grubby reality or not, the series was wildly popular for Channel 4 with its third season premiere attracting a record-breaking overnight average audience of 2.6m viewers.
So the question, of course, has always been will The Inbetweeners ever return? Well, the cast has always been up for it with Joe Thomas telling The Mirror last year he’d ‘jump at any chance to work with those guys again’.
Of course, the gang, like the actors who played them, would be in their late twenties or even early thirties by now so any series would have to focus on their adult lives.
We asked Damon what he thinks the four are up to now and whether he and Iain have ever considered revisiting their most famous comic creations.
I think people would be interested to see the characters now, to see where they were and what they’re doing. But I think that, you know, we intentionally chose that age-group because as you get older you can say think and do some of the things they do without it becoming distasteful.
I think that because they’re established characters we could definitely revisit them and I think an audience would find it interesting. You’d have to find a different angle on it though, I don’t think they can carry on believing some of the things they believe [chuckles] for a start because it could become slightly odd and misogynistic.
But would we want to do it? And I guess the answer to that is, I think we all had so much fun making it and miss working with each other that I’m sure at some point we’re going to find a way to do something.
I’m not sure what that would be, and we’ve got nothing in the pipeline, but it’s mainly inspired by the fact we all miss making it [The Inbetweeners] and miss hanging out together so never say never.
So what would the boys be up to now? Well Damon had an answer for us.
In terms of the comeback story, we always knew that Will and Simon were going to be a bit more cosmopolitan, that life was hard for them at that gangly, awkward teenage age but that life was going to turn out alright for them.
And we always knew that things kind of work out for Neil but he’s got… more local ambitions [laughs]! And then Jay… Yeah.
We always kind of thought Jay was in the shadow of his dad and that he’d go down the route of starting his own business, or working for his dad, he’s not spectacularly successful [Laughs].
So there was always a sense that the group would go in their own directions with Simon and Will going to uni and having enjoyable modern careers while Neil and Jay were still knocking about together and that Jay would be quite unhappy.
If you fancy reliving the embarrassing lives of Will and the gang All 4 have got you covered.
To celebrate The Inbetweeners 10th anniversary they’re releasing both The Inbetweeners Movie and The Inbetweeners 2 alongside existing Box Sets of all three series.
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.