There’s a lot going on in BBC drama Champion, with the first episode throwing viewers straight into the deep end of this escalating family conflict. Famed London rapper Bosco Champion (Malcolm Kamulete) has just been released from prison and is suffering from mental health issues caused by his incarceration. Meanwhile, his sister, Vita (Déja J Bowens), is growing tired of doing everything for her brother (including writing his songs) and wants to start her own career.
This schism in the Champion household is the catalyst for even more dramatic beats to follow. Rivalries, betrayals, deceit, tragedy, unexpected revelations and a selection of electrifying original songs are all part of this series. The writing is snappy, and events move at a fast pace. Each scene sends the plot in interesting and compelling new directions, with rarely a dull moment to be found. And, when the momentum does slow down for characters to catch their breath, the meaningful conversations between characters offer insights into what each of the players are going through. The result is a highly entertaining show that keeps viewers hooked with its just-one-more-episode mentality to see what happens next.
There is a cost to having so much going on at once, however: while Champion endeavours to tackle subjects spanning institutional racism, social media, manipulation in the music industry and the cut-throat nature of the business, the brisk pacing doesn’t allow for much (if any) exploration of these topics. It’s only in a handful of tracks that the show has a chance to touch upon these themes in any sort of depth. An impromptu performance from one of Bosco’s former cellmates, for example, offers a window into their past and the downward spiral that led them to being in their current situation. Likewise, seemingly major plot points, such as the online reaction to Bosco’s arrest, are dropped as unexpectedly as they appear.
Champion is a show that aims to be about a lot of different things but lacks the necessary depth to do so as successfully as it wants to. Thankfully, the central sibling rivalry and engaging drama ensure that the multifaceted plot remains consistently captivating throughout.
Champion is released on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on 1st July 2023.
Watch the trailer for Champion here: