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22nd Oct 2023

Stephen Graham says This Is England nearly ended his acting career

Steve Hopkins

‘For about eight months I couldn’t get an audition’

Stephen Graham has revealed that he couldn’t get another job for eight months after his infamous role in This Is England.

The 50-year-old Boiling Point star played a violent fascist in the 2005 movie and says he almost “lost himself” in the character of Andrew “Combo” Gascoigne.

The role, it has been suggested, also had the potential to stall, if not end his career, due to the violent nature of his character.

This is England tells the story of a troubled boy, Shaun, 12, growing up in the north of England in 1983 and is based on the real-life experiences of director, Shane Meadows. Set during the summer holidays, it follows his rites of passage from a shaggy-haired kid grieving the loss of his dad into a shaven-headed thug whose anger and pain are embraced by the local skinhead fraternity.

Graham has previously spoken about the difficulties of playing the part of ‘Combo’ as a mixed-race man. He has Jamaican heritage on his dad’s side.

One of the more troubling scenes in the movie, shows Graham beating up a Black man.

Graham said: “It was life-changing.

“I lost myself quite a bit within that character. After This Is England I could not get a job…for about eight months I couldn’t get an audition.”

Graham admitted that he turned to alcohol during his time filming the drama, and would return to his wife at home ‘crying my eyes out’.”

Graham said the film taught him how to “dive into a character”, but afterwards he “almost packed it all in” with the idea of being a youth worker instead.

Graham went on to star in Snatch and Gangs of New York.

The actor also spoke about the racist abuse he suffered as kid due to his mixed-race background, saying he was called “horrible words that I don’t even want to say.”

Graham’s most recent work is in new Netflix series, Bodies, a murder mystery set over four different ears, spanning 163 years.

Graham last year received an OBE for his services to drama.

Related links:

Stephen Graham’s Netflix thriller Bodies drops today with rave reviews

New BBC ‘Boiling Point’ series is leaving viewers ‘stressed’

Stephen Graham one-shit film has 98% on Rotten Tomatoes

Actor Stephen Graham made OBE in New Year Honours list