Stephen Graham is put through his paces as he gets into shape for bare-knuckle fighting role in Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight’s new drama A Thousand Blows
Stephen Graham will be in the shape of his life when new series A Thousand Blows airs on streaming platform Disney + later this year.
The Victorian boxing drama is the latest offering from Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, and Graham has been steadily working on his physique with a personal trainer in order to play veteran slugger Sugar Goodson.
Taking to Instagram, the 49-year old actor shared video of himself working out for the highly physical role in a local gym.
Echoing his work on Peaky Blinders, show creator Knight has based A Thousand Blows around a real-life crime syndicate – this time the London based 19th and 20th century gang Forty Elephants, an exclusively female group of shoplifters.
It will follow the mixed fortunes of two Jamaican immigrants who find themselves in Victorian London’s violently unpredictable East End, where they make an enemy in feared bare-knuckle fighter Goodson, played by Graham.
Let’s get physical: Stephen Graham will be in the shape of his life when new series A Thousand Blows airs on streaming platform Disney + later this year
Hard graft: Graham has been steadily working on his physique with a personal trainer in order to play veteran slugger Sugar Goodson
Discussing his new role on the final edition of Soccer AM, he said: ‘We’re doing this great series called A Thousand Blows which was written by Steve Knight.
‘It’s about two young Jamaicans that came over during the 1800s, [among them] Hezekiah Moscow.
‘He became an amazing fighter, and it’s about his story and his life, how he established himself in East London.’
He added: ‘I play Sugar Goodson, I’ve got a brother called Treacle Goodson, we’re the Goodson brothers. We’re bare-knuckle fighters, so I’ve been getting in shape and stuff, learning how to fight.
‘I’ve put the graft in, you’d best ask my missus, like!’
The show will also star Malachi Kirby as Moscow and Erin Doherty – best known for her role as Princess Anne in The Crown – as Forty Elephants gang leader Mary Carr.
Graham’s actress wife Hannah Walters plays Eliza Moody, a member of Carr’s notorious gang.
Here we go: Taking to Instagram, the 49-year old actor shared video of himself working out for the highly physical role in a local gym
No messing: Graham was supervised by a personal trainer during his rigorous workout session
Hanging in there: The actor attempted a set of chin-ups while getting in shape for his new role
It’s understood that Graham developed a rough idea for the show during the pandemic before asking close friend Knight, with whom he worked on Peaky Blinders, to flesh it out.
Discussing the show’s development with Radio Times, Knight said: ‘[Stephen] contacted me and said, “Would you write an hour on this? I said ‘All right then”.
‘Then it got picked up and it’s all in production now.’
A synopsis for the forthcoming drama reads: ‘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.’
While an official launch date is yet to be announced, A Thousand Blows is expected to air on Disney + later this year.
Carry that weight: He also boosted his biceps with some free weights during the gym session