BBC One Readies Anthony Walker Drama


BBC One has ordered Anthony, a drama from LA Productions written by multi-BAFTA-winner Jimmy McGovern about Anthony Walker, who was murdered in a racist attack in July 2005.

Walker, a Liverpool teenager with a devout Christian faith and a love of basketball and known to his family and friends for his humor, intelligence and compassion, was halfway through college with plans to study at university when he was killed in Huyton, Merseyside. The 90-minute drama was inspired by conversations with Gee Walker, Anthony’s mother.

Anthony, directed by Terry McDonough, will be distributed internationally by ITV Studios.

Anthony Walker will be played by Toheeb Jimoh (The Power, Ted Lasso) and Rakie Ayola (Shetland, Noughts + Crosses) will portray Gee Walker. Julia Brown (World On Fire), Bobby Schofield (Knightfall), Stephanie Hyam (Bodyguard), Gbemisola Ikumelo (Sex Education), Robinah Kironde (The Widow), Dominique Moore (A Confession), Phina Oruche (Taken Down), Siobhan McSweeney (Derry Girls), Shaniqua Okwok (Small Axe), Wesley Bozonga (Sliced), Leo Wringer (Black Earth Rising), Lorna Gayle (Carmilla), Jay Lycurgo (I May Destroy You), Josh Bolt (Last Tango In Halifax) and James Ledsham (Levelling the Score) also star.

Gee Walker, Anthony Walker’s mother, said: “I went to Jimmy because I couldn’t think of anyone more suited who could depict, highlight and draw attention to the hard messages of a life not lived—Anthony’s unfilled dreams, his potentials and the many lives he would have impacted on – which now will never be realized.”

McGovern said: “I’d known Gee Walker for many years and every time I had needed to write about loss or grief I had gone to her and she had always been generous with her time and her profound wisdom. But one day SHE came to ME and asked me to write about her beloved Anthony. I said, ‘Gee, if you’re asking such a thing, I feel I have a God-given duty to do it.’ And so I did it.”

Jimoh commented: “Anthony’s story is a painfully tragic one but it’s also full of hope, joy, promise and love. Jimmy’s script captures that perfectly. I hope this film will serve as a tribute to Anthony and I feel truly honored to have been asked to play him.”

Ayola added: “I’m so grateful we’ve been able to shine a light on Anthony Walker’s story with the blessing and generosity of his mother Gee Walker.”

Colin McKeown, executive producer for LA Productions, said: “Both Donna [Molloy] and I were privileged to have produced Anthony. It follows a rich vein of factual drama that LA Productions has been delivering for almost a decade now. It means a lot to me personally as I am from the same village as the Walker family and it is typical of Gee to draw positive conclusions from tragic events.”

Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, said: “When commissioning drama linked to real life, we consider carefully the individual lives at the heart of the drama but also the wider societal story it might tell. Anthony is a case in point. A unique blend of fiction and reality, steered by Jimmy McGovern’s conversations with Anthony’s mother Gee Walker, it is the story of a young man who tragically lost his life but also of a life he might have led. We are honored to be telling it on BBC One.”