We all know that teenage boys are generally not good at talking about their own health. Creating a trait that often continues through to adult life. As men search for their own answers to possible health problems, long before consulting a doctor. Often only increasing undue worry and concern, that remains pent up and lacking in any emotional support. Therefore any TV show that aims to highlight the importance of talking about wellbeing in the lives of young men is more than welcome. And BBC Three’s new comedy/drama My Left Nut does exactly that. Not only confronting the importance of male health, but surrounding its narrative with warm and accessible characters and humour. Providing us with a beautifully scripted and performed comedy/drama that lifts the curtain on male wellbeing and communication.
Based on the stage play of the same name, which in turn was based on the real life experience of Michael Patrick. My Left Nut follows Mick (Nathan Quinn O’Rawe) an average 16 year old, who happens to find a large swelling on his left testicle. Sending his world spiralling into a web of fear, embarrassment and horror. Just as he is navigating the first sparks of a relationship with Racheal (Jessica Reynolds). A girl who he has been longing to date for sometime.
And while Mick has supportive mates in both Conor and Tommy. His ability to talk to them about the mysterious and growing lump invading he manhood is limited. The groups friendship based on conversations that never dwell on personal needs on emotions. Instead opting for humour, bravado and a mix of sexual conquest fact and fiction.
Meanwhile Mick’s approachable yet busy mum struggles to balance work and family commitments. Following the death of Mick’s dad from Motor Neurone Disease seven years before. And his older sister is too busy navigating her own relationship issues to listen to her younger brother. But as Mick’s concerns grow, he ultimately has no choice but to overcome the barriers of his own limited communication, embarrassment and honesty.
Split into three 30 minute episodes, My Left Nut is not only a delightful teenage drama. But also a highly intelligent exploration of male communication and emotions. Delicately exploring the importance of male connectivity in a manner that is accessible to a teenage male audience. While equally never seeking to preach in its core messages. Ultimately delivering a very similar aesthetic to Sex Education in exploring men’s health and sexual development. While lacing it with both the humour and style of Channel Four’s Derry Girls. Ensuring its core discussion on testicular cancer sits central to the narrative. While also exploring wider themes of teenage life and love. However, where My Left Nut truly excels is in breaking down the taboo’s of self checking, medical intervention and emotional expression. In turn lifting the veil of embarrassment and bravado surrounding male health concerns.
Performances shine throughout, with many of the cast staring in their first major on screen roles. And while it’s clear that this is a limited run comedy/drama. I found myself equally hoping the characters would be seen again, providing an important continuation of their journey. However, even if if this is not be, My Left Nut is an engaging and important stage to screen adaptation. That not only provides an important message, but does so with humour, love and sincerity throughout.