Tommy goes to Hollywood with his own brand of superhero

18 Aug 2023

Actor Tommy Jessop, who was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Winchester in 2020, is back on our TV screens next week in a documentary following his attempts to persuade Hollywood moguls to back his film about a superhero with Down Syndrome.

Tommy, from Winchester, and his film-maker brother Will, made the programme to highlight the shortage of screen roles for people like himself.

The 38-year-old Winchester man is best known for his role as Terry Boyle in hit police drama Line of Duty but has also appeared in numerous  TV shows including the BAFTA nominated drama Coming Down the Mountain.

He was also the first actor with Down Syndrome to play Hamlet on stage in a production by Blue Apple Theatre, a company he co-founded to create opportunities for performers who have learning disabilities. 

However, Tommy says that since his role in the Line of Duty, which attracted up to 15 million viewers, the roles have dried up.

So, he and Will have created their own project, Roger the Superhero. Their efforts to pitch the idea in Tinseltown are the subject of Tommy Goes to Hollywood which airs on BBC One on Monday.

Roger is named after Tommy's teddy who accompanies them on their trip.

Speaking at a preview screening of the show, Tommy said that after watching countless superhero movies it was about time he starred in one.

“I want to open people’s minds to what life will really be like for people living with Down syndrome. Hopefully, the main superpower really is an extra chromosome,” he said.

Tommy Goes to Hollywood is on BBC One on Monday, 21 August at 9pm and will also be available on iPlayer.

Back to media centre