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Peaky Blinders creator casts Stephen Graham in new illegal boxing drama

Jess Hardiman

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| Last updated 

Peaky Blinders creator casts Stephen Graham in new illegal boxing drama

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight has cast Stephen Graham in an ‘epic’ 12-part drama about illegal boxing. 

Set in 1880s Victorian London, A Thousand Blows will follow two friends as they find themselves at the centre of the city’s underground boxing scene, with Graham starring as veteran boxer Sugar Goodson. 

A synopsis says: “The thrilling series follows Hezekiah and Alec, two best friends from Jamaica who find themselves thrust into the vibrant and violent melting pot of post-industrial revolution London’s East End.

"Drawn into the criminal underbelly of the thriving boxing scene, Hezekiah meets Mary Carr, leader of The Forty Elephants – the notorious all-female London gang – as they battle for survival on the streets. 

“As Hezekiah sharpens his new skills, he comes up against Sugar Goodson, a seasoned and dangerous boxer played by Stephen Graham, and the two are soon locked into an intense rivalry that spills out way beyond the ring.” 

Stephen Graham in 2021. Credit: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo
Stephen Graham in 2021. Credit: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

The new series will premiere on Disney+ globally, Star+ in Latin America and Hulu in the US. 

Graham, who also serves as executive producer on the project, said it was a 'privilege' to play Henry 'Sugar' Goodson, an amateur boxer who died in 1917.

“To be able to work with Steve again and the talented team of writers we have for this project is truly wonderful, and to tell the story of these incredible characters during this period of time in London is a joy," the actor said.

“Aside from having the privilege of bringing the role of Sugar Goodson to life, I am also extremely proud that Matriarch is co-producing this show whilst helping to create opportunities for people in front of and behind the camera, instilling the ethos of providing training within production that otherwise would be difficult for some to pursue as a career.” 

Graham as Hayden Stagg in Peaky Blinders. Credit: BBC
Graham as Hayden Stagg in Peaky Blinders. Credit: BBC

Graham also shared a quote from Muhammad Ali, who once said: “Don't count the days... Make the days count." 

Meanwhile, Knight – who is creator, writer and executive producer – expressed his excitement to be working alongside Graham on the ‘remarkable’ true crime saga, having previously cast the star as Hayden Stagg in the sixth season of Peaky Blinders.

He said: “I’m really thrilled to be working on this project with Stephen as well as the very talented production team and group of writers. 

“I always love to delve into untold history, and this is a story that really deserves to be told. We are recreating an amazing world and telling a remarkable true story.” 

Disney+ hasn't shared a release date yet for the forthcoming drama, but we'll keep you posted.

Featured Image Credit: Stills Press / Alamy Stock Photo / Columbia Pictures

Topics: Stephen Graham, TV and Film

Jess Hardiman
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