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Stephen Graham has been getting himself into fighting shape for his new Disney+ show.

As you can maybe guess, this show, called A Thousand Blows, is about boxing, and Stephen plays a dangerous fighter on the underground boxing scene, who is the rival of two young boxers recently arrived from Jamaica.

For the role, Stephen has been in the gym himself, working out and attempting to better fit the bill for a Victorian East End bare-knuckle boxer.

Speaking over the weekend on Soccer AM – the last ever episode, as it happens – Graham said: “We’re doing this great series called A Thousand Blows which was written by [Peaky Blinders and Taboo writer] Steve Knight.

Stephen Graham has been pumping iron for his role in A Thousand Blows.
Instagram/Stephen Graham

“It’s about two young Jamaicans that came over during the 1800s, [one of whom was called] Hezekiah Moscow.

“He became an amazing fighter, and it’s about his story and his life, how he established himself in East London.

“I play Sugar Goodson, I’ve got a brother called Treacle Goodson, we’re the Goodson brothers.

“We’re bare-knuckle fighters, so I’ve been getting in shape and stuff, learning how to fight.

“I’ve put the graft in, you’d best ask my missus, like!”

Whilst the show might have been written by Steven Knight, the writer has admitted that the overall idea for the series actually belonged to Graham.

The Leicester Mercury reported that Graham devised the basic idea for the show during the Covid-19 pandemic and asked Knight to write it for him.

Obviously, he agreed.

Speaking to the Radio Times, Knight said: “[Stephen] contacted me and said, ‘Would you write an hour on this?’

“I said ‘All right then’.

“Then it got picked up and it's all in production now.”

Starring alongside Graham is Small Axe star Malachi Kirby, who will play Hezekiah Moscow.

He'll play Sugar Goodson, a veteran bare-knuckle boxer.
Instagram/Stephen Graham

His rivalry with Graham’s wily old campaigner Goodson will see the pair square off both inside and outside of the ring.

As well as Graham and Kirby, Stephen’s wife Hannah Walters stars as Eliza Moody, one of the members of the infamous London street gang The 40 Elephants, which was made up of all-female members.

Also in that gang, there’s an appearance from The Crown star Erin Doherty, who is playing 40 Elephants ringleader Mary Carr.

Principal photography started in March 2023, and there’s no hard and fast date for when we’ll see the whole thing.

Still, if it’s got Graham and Knight involved, there’s a good chance it’ll be worth the wait.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Stephen Graham

Topics: TV and Film, Stephen Graham, Disney Plus