The End of the F***ing World's Jessica Barden happy romance doesn't revolve around sex
Dust off your snazziest Hawaiian shirt and blonde party wig because our two favourite TV fugitives Alyssa and James are back on the run in series two of Channel 4's End of the F***ing World.
Jessica Barden and Alex Lawther return as the lovelorn duo who have finally been reunited after James' long recovery from being shot in the dramatic finale of series 1. But they're unwittingly being pursued by bereaved ex-girlfriend Bonnie (played by Naomi Ackie) of serial killer Clive Koch (Jonathan Aris), who James previously killed in self-defence.
Their romance is being played out at a glacial pace - which actress Jessica said she fully supported, as she didn't want their relationship to move too fast or revolve around sex. She wanted it to be relatable to young people, and to reflect the dysfunction and awkwardness that lots of budding relationships reflect.
"I like that we deliver a romantic storyline to a young audience that isn't fast or revolves around sex," the star told Cosmopolitan UK. "Or being sexy, or anything like that. There's a lot of great shows that do that really well, but I don't know how much anxiety that might build in young kids.
"I didn't feel sexy when I was younger, I don't really feel sexy now. I'm not going to wear a pencil skirt and seduce a guy. I'm just not really going to do that. I feel really happy like with Derry Girls, I feel happy to be part of something that young people are like, that is dysfunctional and you feel awkward in relationships and you try to find someone that makes you feel comfortable. I feel proud that we represent that side of a romantic light."
Jessica also discussed how Alyssa is emotionally shut-off in this series, while James has become more open and emotionally available than he was before.
"I think Alyssa was the one who was more emotionally present [in series 1] and now James is emotionally present and that's why I think it comes across like it is Alyssa's journey," Jessica continued. "That what is really interesting, to see a character like Alyssa after the way we saw her in the first series, to not be able to cope with something like this. She seemed like a very resilient person but actually she's not."
Meanwhile, co-star Alex ruminated: "Alyssa and James have grown up. The audience watching them has grown up, and we've grown up as well. They're dealing with things as young adults and that has a lot of humour in it and there's a lot of darkness in that too. Series 1 was a bit more rock and roll, and they're now having to deal with the consequences."
The End of the F***ing World series 2 is written by Charlie Covell, who also wrote series 1, and is inspired by characters from the award-winning series of comic books by Charles Forsman.
Series 2 airs Monday 4th to Thursday 7th November on Channel 4, with two new episodes double-billed every night across the week from 10pm. The entire eight-part series will be available to stream on All 4 from 11pm on the 4th.
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