Channel 4 Top Boy Auditions in Hackney called off after chaos


Auditions for a hit Channel 4 television show descended into chaos last week when around 2,000 unexpected hopefuls turned up, forcing producers to call off their search.

The auditions for Top Boy – a drama about inner-city drug and gang culture in east London – were scheduled to take place at Hoxton Hall on 11 November, between 12pm and 5pm.

The first season of the programme, set on the fictional Summerhouse estate in Hackney, counted Ashley Walters and rapper Kano amongst its critically acclaimed cast.

In a call-out advertised online, casting directors had invited black, mixed race, Asian and other “non-white” teenagers to audition for four minor parts in the second season of the show, due to air next year.

It said no acting experience was necessary, advising auditionees to simply “turn up on the day”.

However, organisers were forced to cancel the auditions on Sunday amidst fears for safety when the gathering crowds grew too large.

Some who attended turned to Twitter to criticise the lack of management and organisation, branding the open auditions “a shambles” and a “big mistake”.

Despite rumours of violence circulating on social networking sites, the Metropolitan Police said there had been no recorded incidents.

Cowboy Films, the production company behind Top Boy, said: “The auditions were attended by more people than had been anticipated and were closed early for safety reasons.

“The situation was extremely well-handled by police on the ground and the crowds dispersed very quickly.”

Hayley White, group director for Hoxton Hall, blamed unofficial advertisement of the auditions on social media for the “unprecedented” audition turnout.

“We are now in discussion with local businesses, residents and police to ensure we are fully prepared for an increased volume of response for any future events of this nature,” she said.

Last year, Hackney Council refused permission for the first series of Top Boy to be filmed in any of the borough’s estates over concerns of its stigmatisation of the local area.