Big Zuu happily raises a rude sitcom

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Big Zuu is one of the rising stars in television right now. The rapper chef stole the show at recent televised Baftas with his double win and hilarious acceptance speeches. He is currently whipping up a storm on his own vehicle, Big Zuu’s Big Eats, and judging the BBC Hungry For It cooking competition.

Now he’s turned to acting and it seems Big Zuu can’t do anything. He’s one of the best things about the new sitcom Sneakerhead (Dave) – and there’s a lot to love about this rambunctious retail satire. Created by Scottish playwright Gillian Roger Park, it’s both a hymn to the British high street and a well-watched workplace comedy.

Hugo Chegwin (better known as People’s Just Do Nothing DJ Beats) plays shoe fanatic Russell, who believes “sneakers are the gateway to the soul.” This lovable loser wasted nine years working at the Peterborough branch of Sports Depot – a thinly veiled facsimile of Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, complete with giant promotional mugs.

When his boss is fired for being pregnant (one of many digs into the tyranny of zero-hour contracts), Russell fails in a leadership role. He quickly became the David Brent of ready-to-wear, despite his reluctance to become “a corporate machine, swapping my New Balance for oxfords or Chelsea boots.”

His motley crew includes budding entrepreneur Mulenga (Big Zuu), slacker Amber (YouTube sensation Lucia Keskin), eccentric Edgars (superbly deadpan Mark Silcox), and power-mad Jemma (Francesca Mills). One of the few missteps here is the way Mills plays the resident bully. She does it brilliantly but it’s a shame that the only handicapped character has to be the villain of the pantomime.

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