Channel 4 has announced a new four-part drama starring former-Hustle actor Ashley Walters and Kierston Wareing.
The pair are joined in Top Boy by music stars Kane Robinson aka Kano and Scorcher with producers promising the drama will look “beyond the headlines about youth crime and delves into the personal stories of those involved.”
Written by novelist Ronan Bennett (Public Enemies, The Hamburg Cell) and produced by Cowboy Films (The Last King of Scotland, Poppy Shakespeare), the series is currently filming in and around London.
Walters plays rug dealer and gang leader Dushane, a charming, sexy, clever, 26 year old who has “already run out of things to be – except this”.
When Dushane gets the attention of ex-convict and drug dealer Bobby Raikes (Geoff Bell) he seizes an opportunity to be more, to have more. With his friend Sully (Kane Robinson) at his side, Dushane is on track to becoming Top Boy.
Dushane and Sully’s violent quest to take over the supply of drugs in the Summerhouse Estate impacts on the lives of a number of the residents. The emotional heart of the story lies with Ra’Nell (Malcolm Kamulete), a bright 13-year-old struggling to create a stable home environment for his mentally ill mother Lisa (Sharon Duncan Brewster).
Ra’Nell’s best friend Gem (Giacomo Mancini) will do anything to be accepted into Dushane’s gang whilst Summerhouse resident Heather (Kierston Wareing), pregnant and penniless, is determined to give her baby the chances she never had – “even if it means doing one wrong thing to get to the right place”.
Writer Ronan Bennett says: “I knew that I wanted to write about this world from the bottom up, from the point of view, not of the police, but of the tinies and youngers I saw every day hanging around the supermarket forecourt.”
Channel 4 Head of drama Camilla Campbell says: “Ronan’s script is not only honest and contemporary, due to the vast research with the kids and their extraordinary stories – it is also gripping, funny and entertaining. It will be a striking piece of drama that is perfect for Channel 4.”
The series is due for transmission in the autumn and will be available on DVD from Warner Home Video.