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Big news this week as Netflix shared a first look at the cast of Top Boy with a gritty short film. Social media was alight with excitement as Drake (who is an Executive Producer) premiered it on the first London night of his Assasination Vacation tour. Ashley Walters (Bulletproof, Sugarhouse) and Kane Robinson, who reprise their roles as ‘Dushane' and ‘Sully’, are joined by newcomer Micheal Ward as ‘Jamie’ (The A List, Blue Story). The series features musical artists Simbi Ajikawo ‘Little Simz’ and David Omoregie ‘Dave’ while Shone Romulus (Out) and Ashley Thomas (24: Legacy, The Night Of, Black Mirror) returns as ‘Dris’ and ‘Jermaine’ respectively. New cast members include Lisa Dwan (Trust), Jasmine Jobson (Lie Low, Obey), Kadeem Ramsay (Sex Education, Blue Story), Saffron Hocking (London Kills, White Gold), Kola Bokinni (Hunter, Killer, Black Mirror) and Hope Ikpoku.
The original series was aired on UK broadcaster Channel 4 before its end in 2013; both seasons are now globally available on Netflix. The next chapter, consisting of ten all-new episodes, is created and written by Ronan Bennett; Daniel West also serves as a writer. The new episodes pick up as Dushane returns from exile to his home in London to reclaim his throne in the highly lucrative drug market. He teams up with Sully, his spiritual brother, partner and sometime rival who is also returning to the same streets after his own form of exile – prison – comes to an end. Awaiting them both is Jamie, the young, hungry and ruthless gang leader whose ambitions leave no place for Dushane and Sully.
The series is executive produced by the original creative team – Charles Steel and Alasdair Flind (for Cowboy Films), Ronan Bennett (for Easter Partisan) and Yann Demange. Directors include Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men), Nia DaCosta (Candyman, Little Woods), Aneil Karia (Pure, Lovesick) and Brady Hood (Endeavour). The series features original music by Brian Eno and additional music by Michael 'Mikey J' Asante.The new installment is executive produced by multi-faceted entertainer and producer Drake and his business partner Adel “Future” Nur, along with Maverick Carter and Jamal Henderson for SpringHill Entertainment which (fun fact!) is co-founded by LeBron James. It's a heavyweight team to say the least!
Speaking of his inspiration behind the show, creator and writer Ronan Bennett shared “Ten years ago, I witnessed a 10-year-old boy dealing drugs outside my local supermarket. It made me question what was going on in my own community and led me to create Top Boy.”
Series veteran Ashley Walters said "Top Boy is a raw, real representation of street culture. It explores how these characters came to make the choices they make, and gives the audience a behind-the-scenes look as to what is happening on our streets today. It needs to be talked about and the show doesn't shy away from giving us the platform to tell our story. We can't change things if we do not acknowledge it and understand it first. Netflix is the perfect platform for this show, there aren't many networks who would be brave enough to keep it this real.”
The new series will debut on Netflix in the Autumn. Will you be watching?