HBO’s Rain Dogs: Is the British Series Based on Real People?

Image Credit: James Pardon/HBO

HBO’s ‘Rain Dogs’ is a British comedy-drama series created by Cash Carraway. It stars Daisy May Cooper (‘Am I Being Unreasonable?’) as Costello, a working-class, single mother trying to make ends meet while providing for her young daughter and dealing with the repercussions of her love for her best friend, Selby, a privileged gay man. The heartfelt and humorous series portrays the challenges of poverty from a single mother’s perspective making viewers question its connection to reality. If you are wondering whether ‘Rain Dogs’ is inspired by true events, here is everything you need to know!

Rain Dogs is an Original Story

No, ‘Rain Dogs’ is not based on a true story. The series is the brainchild of Cash Carraway, a British-Irish author, playwright, and screenwriter. She was born in Camberwell, London, and raised in a relatively poor household. As a teenager, Carraway studied acting at The BRIT school and worked at a strip club in Soho. Later, she ventured into writing and established herself as an author and playwright. The playwright gained widespread critical acclaim and recognition for her debut novel ‘Skint Estate,’ a memoir about her experiences as a working-class, single mother living in poverty.

Image Credit: James Pardon/HBO

The book was first published in 2019 and quickly became a bestseller. Later, it was optioned by BBC and developed as an eponymous television series. Following a partnership between BBC and HBO, the show was given a new lease and likely transformed into a separate entity from the book. However, the primary themes of the series remain poverty and motherhood. Therefore, it is likely that ‘Skint Estate’ amalgamates Carraway’s memoir and some fictional elements to tell a compelling story appealing to a broader audience.

The show’s protagonist Costello shares several similarities with Carraway’s life — the latter has also been evicted from her home, is a single mother, and has lived in extreme poverty. Similarly, she, too, attempts to become a writer in the show. “It’s constant chaos. I always talk about the chaos of poverty – my mindset hasn’t recovered from that yet because it’s such a traumatic way to live. You’re constantly on the go and thinking about how to save your arse,” Carraway said about her experiences in an interview with Big Issue.

Given that Carraway has first-hand experienced life as a single mother while trying to make ends meet, it is understandable why her first television series revolves around a protagonist who closely resembles her. The playwright spoke about the conceptualization of the series in a press release. “I wanted to create a working-class protagonist who doesn’t die easily in her attempts to “rise to the top” yet who is stunted by scrutiny, public ridicule, and gatekeepers due to her socio-economic status,” Carraway said.

“Rain Dogs is your classic transformation story; only Costello Jones is trapped in circumstances where she’s not allowed to change. It isn’t autobiographical, but it definitely has firm roots in the chip on my shoulder!” the writer added. Nevertheless, Carraway has noted that she purposefully avoided making any political statements through her work on the series, as is often seen in working-class comedies. Instead, she focused on the family elements and gave the series a rom-com vibe.

As a result, ‘Rain Dogs’ presents viewers with a truly dysfunctional family dynamic as we explore life’s challenges as a working-class individual through Costello’s eyes and her relationship with her daughter and gay best friend. All things said, the HBO show is not based on a true story. It is rooted in the real-life experiences of its creator but tells a fictional account that scans the world of a working-class single mother with a sense of brutal honesty and toothless humor. The blunt reality of Costello’s life is made all the more hard-hitting, with comedy in unexpected and sometimes even tragic situations being the only source of comfort. As a result, ‘Rain Dogs’ is a funny yet human interpretation of life at its lowest lows.

Read More: Best British and BBC Shows on Netflix