Steven Knight and Stephen Graham to make period boxing drama for Disney+
Disney+ has greenlit a 19th century boxing drama written by Steven Knight and starring Stephen Graham.
A Thousand Blows (w/t) is a 12 x 60 series, set against the dangerous backdrop of illegal boxing in 1880s London. It is a co-production between Water & Power Productions, The Story Collective and Graham’s Matriarch Productions.
The 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.
The exec producers are Graham, Knight, Hannah Walters, Damian Keogh, Kate Lewis, Tom Miller and Sam Myer and Lee Mason. Professor David Olusoga will also act as executive producer on the series.
Knight is the lead writer for the series, with episodes also written by Ameir Brown, Insook Chappell, Harlan Davies and Yasmin Joseph. Tinge Krishnan will serve as lead director and executive producer.
Knight 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.”
Graham added: “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.
“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. ‘Don't count the days... Make the days count.’ - Muhammad Ali.”
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