Brand new British E4 series Chewing Gum features a type of black female lead rarely seen in primetime. Actress, writer, and comedian Michaela Coel plays Tracey Gordon, a character that manages to be quirky, bawdy, awkward, and at times, naive and nihilistic. She’s also a bit directionless.
The series, which is based on Coel’s 2012 one-woman show, “Chewing Gum Dreams,” centers around Tracey’s religious upbringing. Tracey inhabits a world that was inspired by Coel’s own working class roots, growing up in the Hackney and Tower Hamlets neighborhoods. Coel was also raised by a deeply religious Pentecostal mother.
According to Coel, Tracey is “the sort of life you don’t see very often on TV. Tracey’s sexual naiveté, for example, reflects [my own] celibacy between the ages of 17 and 22… I had a massive conversion to this very Pentecostal, demon-exorcising church. Getting to the point where I started to do not such a good job of being celibate, was awkward and horrible. So much guilt. Psychologically, I was in a whirlwind.”
Unfortunately the series is only available to view in the U.K., but I’m hoping with the recent slate of press, that international viewers can also get a taste of Chewing Gum. U.K. viewers can watch the series HERE. In the meantime, the rest of us can enjoy these clips, teasers, and trailers.