University graduate creates ‘Gradulthood’ sitcom

– Jamie Waller contributed to this report

For most students, life after university doesn’t bear thinking about. The thought of looking for a job in a difficult market, settling for entry level positions and considering whether to move back home is enough to make you apply to McDonald’s.


"Gradulthood" follows a group of unemployed university graduates as they struggle to find work in London. Photo: Will Hall-Smith

Someone who didn’t let it get him down is Will Hall-Smith, whose new sitcom “Gradulthood” examines the difficult period between leaving university and adjusting to the real world. It follows four graduates who are too rude, arrogant and narcissistic for entry level jobs.

Like any sitcom, the humour is based around their mishaps and failings, but many of the situations are based on Hall-Smith’s experiences. He explained: “When I graduated from Durham University in 2011, I knew it would have difficult to get a job because of the recession, but I didn’t expect it to be so hard.

“TV Production was an extremely competitive market; in some cases there were 250 people applying for each position. It would have been terrible if it wasn’t so funny.”

However, unlike his characters, Hall-Smith didn’t let the time go to waste and set about turning his experiences into a script. Over the course of a year, this became “Gradulthood”.

He eventually set about filming it in November 2012 and spent a “convoluted” month editing it. The first episode is now complete and he is looking for a TV station to pick it up.

Referring to a scene in the show’s pilot episode, Hall-Smith said: “In the earlier drafts, there was more real life experience, but it turned out truth is stranger than fiction so we had to take most of that out. I definitely never blacked-up to get a job interview though!”

For someone who studied philosophy and psychology at university, film-making could feel like a strange career choice, but Hall-Smith says it was all part of a plan: “Ever since I was 11, I used to make films for fun.

“I always knew I wanted to be a film maker, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to a film school because they just teach you to direct like everyone else. In the end, I decided to focus on other things that interested me and try to bring my own style to film making.”

At the age of 23, Hall-Smith has already done well within his industry, working with Russell Tovey (“Being Human”, “Him & Her”) and David Schall (Jay’s dad in “The Inbetweeners”) in short films.

However, this hasn’t come from waiting for an opportunity to drop in his lap. His advice for graduates is short and not very sweet: “I realised early on that the world doesn’t owe you anything; you have to make your own way. Who knows, if I hadn’t decided to go and make this show on my own, I might still be waiting for a job in ten years’ time.”

The pilot episode can be viewed here.

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