Written by Sarah Georgeson

In The News

Save the Wolves, babs!

A Kickstarter has been launched to save Caitlin and Caz Moran’s Raised by Wolves. Series star Helen Monks (Germaine) tells Sarah Georgeson why it’s well worth saving. (We totally agree.)

Raised by Wolves

Helen Monks (on top bunk) with the rest of the Raised by Wolves cast. Photos: Channel 4.

At the risk of throwing terms like ‘voice of a generation’ around, Helen Monks’ previous interview in Standard Issue was a pretty special one. Published just before the release of season two of Channel 4’s Raised by Wolves, it was full of joy, hope and the possibility of tomorrow. No more, reader.

Those were simpler times.

Like an overweight teenager trying to complete her Duke of Edinburgh Silver award, 2016 has been a screaming, sweaty uphill struggle. And somewhere between the traumas of Brexit and Bake Off, we lost the Wolves.

But have no fear, because woman of the people Helen Monks is campaigning with her merry band of women (including writers Caitlin and Caz Moran) to bring it back.

In the interests of time-sensitivity – and we really are against the clock here – let’s get this thing going.

Hi Helen. What’s new?

Basically, our sitcom Raised by Wolves was axed by Channel 4 earlier this year. So we’ve launched a Kickstarter for a new episode. If we pull this off, we will be the first ever British TV show to be made by crowdfunding.

I foreshadowed this in the intro section so it’s no real shock. But talk us through where you stand emotionally.

To be honest with you, Saz, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the toilet. I’ve just had my third poo of the day. And because I’m a girl who likes her spicy food, I’m starting to finally understand what Johnny Cash was singing about.

I think they’re terror poos because of this whole Kickstarter situation. We’ve just passed a hundred thousand pounds (on Kickstarter, not on the toilet). I repeat, £100,000. You could buy Wolverhampton for that. It’s so much money, but it’s still only a third of what we need to hit our target.

“The thing that makes Wolves extraordinary is its ordinariness. It’s a show about us – real people. Working-class women being fierce, smart, and very, very funny while remaining constantly on fleek.”

And, sorry to be the Angel of Death, but what happens if you don’t raise the money?

With Kickstarter, it’s all or nothing. If we don’t get the full amount, we don’t get anything. This isn’t Pointless: there is no coveted trophy or fond memories of sustained eye contact with Richard Osman to take home.

Brutal. Any ideas on why it was cancelled? Apart from THE MAN and stuff.

Who knows, babs, who knows. It wasn’t because of ratings – we were the second highest rated sitcom on Channel 4. It wasn’t because of critical acclaim – we won a big international award (the Rose D’Or for Best Sitcom), and we were voted the ninth best sitcom of the 21st century in the Radio Times.

I guess sometimes things are just beyond human understanding – like space, what happens when we die and Richard Osman.

I suppose they had to save up for Bake Off. Are two Bake Off references in one interview overboard?

I had two Richard Osmans. If something’s that good, there should legally be two of it. Which in the case of Bake Off, there very well might be soon.

So after the obligatory crying, binge eating and general wallowing, what happened?

The whole ethos of the show is to be fearless and to grab life by the fanny (with permission). Which is why we decided to be the change, to practise what we preach, and even though we’ve been told no, to make the show anyway. We launched a Kickstarter to crowdfund a new episode of Wolves and I’ve not stopped pooing ever since.

We were in Edinburgh at the Fringe when Wolves was cancelled. I played third wheel to your daily interactions with people who loved the show and wanted to gush at you at zebra crossings.

What is it that makes Raised by Wolves worth fighting for? Not to mention being late for every social and professional engagement for…

I’m so glad you were there. Part of me thought those people were a figment of my imagination. It was a very sleep-deprived time. What those lovely people in the streets of Edinburgh all said was that this show is unique. And I’m fed up of that, really, because it is but the point is, it shouldn’t be.

Raised by Wolves
The thing that makes Wolves extraordinary is its ordinariness. It’s a show about us – real people. Working-class women being fierce, smart, and very, very funny while remaining constantly on fleek.

It shows a single mum of six not just coping, but bossing it. It shows a teenage girl who loves herself and is completely unapologetic in that. It shows a granddad who’s in touch with his feminine side and a teenage lesbian daughter who really likes economic correspondents. It also contains a lot of cheese.

I’ve been binge watching Can’t Pay, We’ll Take It Away recently. I can’t explain why because it’s really harrowing, but shout out to Channel 5 for such a poetic title. How do you think Wolves feeds into the poverty porn shame-fest that is the representation of the working classes on TV?

I think that’s exactly the reason Wolves touched a nerve, and why Twitter went a bit doolally when it found out we’d been axed. In an age of Benefit Street and whatever that show is that you’ve been watching (we’ll talk about that after. Are you OK? We’ll talk about it after), Wolves is actually celebrating working-class life, rather than mocking it. Again, isn’t it depressing that’s such an anomaly?

This is getting quite heavy. Are there also some LOLs and ROFLs?

Yes, it has a lorra lorra laughs! Sorry, I attempted to lighten the atmosphere and accidentally referenced a dead celebrity. That’s been happening a lot this year. But yes, Wolves makes me wee laughing. And not in a metaphorical way. In a damp-patch-on-the-sofa, knickers-under-the-hairdryer way.

Raised by Wolves gif
There are some exercises you can do for that.

I know. I’ve been doing them for the entirety of this interview. Does that make you feel uncomfortable?

Let’s keep this professional. It’s lovely that you can laugh so much at a show when you have an intimate knowledge of the script and wider narrative. You do know you’re in it, right?

Look, if Germaine can’t watch herself and like what she sees, no one can. Also, let’s be honest, I’m mostly laughing at four-year-old Mariah.

So what can we, The People, do to help?

I’m so glad you asked! Go to the Kickstarter and chuck in a fiver. I should mention, in exchange for your hard-earned cash you get rewards. The more money you give, the sweeter the rewards. There’s behind the scenes updates, badges of my face, and even set visits and premiere tickets and one-on-one Skypes with CAITLIN MORAN. I’m thinking of pledging for that one. No amount of time with that woman is enough.

Thanks for your time, ex-Channel 4’s Helen Monks.

You’re the best. Now can I use your lav?

We’ve only got until November 20 to save the Wolves. Click here to make it happen!
Read why our Hannah Dunleavy thinks we need to save Raised by Wolves here.


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Written by Sarah Georgeson

Sarah is a theatre producer living in London. She's into peanut butter, glitter and the rule of three.