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Stephen Graham Almost Quit Acting Following ‘Combo’ Role In This Is England

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Stephen Graham Almost Quit Acting Following ‘Combo’ Role In This Is England

Stephen Graham has revealed that he almost left acting because of his violent role in This Is England.

The 48-year-old actor said that he 'lost' himself when playing racist thug Andrew 'Combo' Gascoigne in the 2006 epic.

One of the more haunting moments from the film involves Graham's character violently beating up a black character.

Speaking on Desert Island Discs, he said: "It was life-changing. I lost myself quite a bit within that character."

Stephen Graham and Thomas Turgoose in This Is England (2006) Credit: Optimum Releasing
Stephen Graham and Thomas Turgoose in This Is England (2006) Credit: Optimum Releasing

He admitted that due to the intense nature of the role, he says he would often 'cry my eyes out' when returning to his wife in their apartment during filming.

"For me that was where I really learned to dive into a character," Graham added.

"After This Is England I could not get a job. For about eight months I couldn't get an audition.


"I almost packed it all in. I was going to be a youth worker."

Credit: Optimum Releasing
Credit: Optimum Releasing

Graham also said that he suffered from racial abuse when he was younger because his grandfather was from Jamaica.

Graham went on to say: "I'm mixed race.


"As a kid I was called ­horrible words that I don't even want to say, and little monkey boy."

However, the Snatch actor from Kirkby thankfully decided to stick it out with acting and has brought us fantastic roles in Line Of Duty and The Irishman.

He is now starring in a new BBC drama The North Water, which came out almost two weeks ago (Friday 10 September).



The five-part series is set in Hull and the ice floes of the Arctic in the late 1850s, and also stars Colin Farrell (Seven Psychopaths, In Bruges, Phone Booth) and Jack O'Connell (This Is England, Skins, Godless).

The synopsis reads: "1859. Patrick Sumner joins The Volunteer as a ship's surgeon, hoping to lose himself in the tough physicality of an Arctic whaling trip.

Credit: BBC
Credit: BBC

"But the ferocity of the elements is matched by the violence of his crewmates, with Drax (Farrell), a harpooner, a distinctly brutal force of nature.


"As the true purpose of the expedition becomes clear, confrontation between the two men erupts - taking them on a journey far from solid ground and way beyond the safe moorings of civilisation."

It's usually on at 9:30pm on a Friday, but you've not seen it, you can catch up on BBC iPlayer, of course.

Featured Image Credit: Optimum Releasing

Topics: TV and Film, Stephen Graham

Anish Vij
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