The Young Person's Guide to Becoming a Rock Star

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The Young Person's Guide to Becoming a Rock Star
Young person's guide.jpg
From left to right: Fiona Johnstone (Simone Lahbib), Wullie 'Bigot' Macboyne (Stephen McCole), Jez MacAllister (Ciarán McMenamin), Psycho MacPhail (Duncan Marwick) and Joe Nardone (Nicola Stapleton).
Created byBryan Elsley
StarringCiarán McMenamin
Simone Lahbib
Nicola Stapleton
Stephen McCole
Duncan Marwick
Gerard Butler
Keith Allen
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes6
Running time35 mins
Production company(s)Company Television
Original networkChannel 4
Picture format14:9
Audio formatStereo
Original release10 November (1998-11-10) –
15 December 1998 (1998-12-15)

The Young Person's Guide to Becoming a Rock Star is a British comedy series, which aired on Channel 4 in 1998. It was a six-part satirical take on the music industry, written by Skins creator Bryan Elsley. The plot centred on a young Glaswegian band – Jocks Wa Hey – as they struggle to find success.

The series won the 'Best Drama Serial' award at the 1999 RTS Television Awards and, that same year, writer Bryan Esley was nominated in the RTS 'Best Writer' category for the series.

It was remade as My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star, a short-lived American/Canadian series that starred Oliver Hudson and was made for the now defunct WB Television Network.[1][2]


The series followed the ups and downs of a young Glaswegian band called Jocks-Wa-Hey and their attempts to "make it" in the tough and uncompromising world of the music industry.

The five-piece band consisted of: the charismatic Jez MacAllister (Ciarán McMenamin) on vocals – our guide through the painful process of becoming a rock'n'roll star; his best pal, bass player "Psycho" (Duncan Marwick), a disorganised student who is the complete opposite of his nickname; drummer Wullie MacBoyne (Stephen McCole), a mean looking psychopath, known as 'Bigot' to his mates; the insatiable and hard-hitting Joe Nardone (Nicola Stapleton) on lead guitar, with more 'balls' and arrogance than the rest of the band put together; and finally Jez's cool-headed welfare officer and electric keyboards wizard, Fiona Johnstone (aka MC Fiona; Simone Lahbib).

The band recruit new members, revolutionise their sound, acquire management, arrange a showcase gig, get signed, record a hopelessly over-budget album and cut a chaotic swathe through the cut-throat world of marketing and promotions, finally resting at the dizzy heights of a top ten single and a massive £3 million debt.

Along the way they encounter Slick Sloan (Keith Allen), the disingenuous A&R man; Derek Trout (Fish), record producer; and their cheesey manager Art Stilton (Forbes Masson) who also manages supergroup 'Bonk, Bonk, Bonk'.

The series also includes cameo appearances from Noel Gallagher, Chrissie Hynde, Jay Kay, 'Big' John Duncan, Denise van Outen, Sara Cox, Kirsty Wark, Samantha Fox, Edward Tudor-Pole, Keith Chegwin and Timmy Mallett.

The series inspired an American version in 2002, My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star.


1. "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" (10 November 1998)

Jez MacAllister begins the painful process of becoming a rock star as he puts together a band.

2. "Creating the Buzz" (17 November 1998)

Fiona is recruited as the band's new member under two conditions; and one of them is to stop sleeping with Jez.

3. "The A & R Men Cometh" (24 November 1998)

With no sign of a record deal after three months of gigging, Art is forced to arrange a showcase.

4. "Sign on the Line" (1 December 1998)

The band arrive in London where they do a deal with Slick Sloan, then launch themselves on the capital's media scene.

5. "Making Tracks" (8 December 1998)

The band arrives at Big Noise studios to record at the farmhouse of rock legend Derek Trout.

6. "Shifting the Units" (15 December 1998)

The band's promotional schedule gathers pace and includes a chaotic appearance on a cult Friday-night TV show. Meanwhile, tensions within the band are exacerbated.



  • Sheree Folkson – director
  • Kieron J. Walsh – director
  • Bryan Elsley – writer
  • Suzan Harrison – executive producer
  • Peter Norris – producer


The Young Person's Guide To Becoming A Rock Star [Soundtrack] Nick Bergin (Artist), Guy Pratt (Artist), Owen Vyse (Artist), Andy Caine (Artist), Julie Katnoria (Artist), et al.


  1. ^ "". 14 March 2002. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  2. ^ "Wanna-Be Comedy: Almost Infamous". NY Daily News. 14 March 2002. Retrieved 24 June 2013.

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