First hitting screens back in 2011, the British television drama Top Boy has since gained a huge following for its authentic, gripping depiction of the lives of the people connected to the (fictional) Summerhouse Estate in East London. Seasons one and two debuted on Channel 4 to superb ratings, but then they decided not to re-commission the show. And just like that, one of our most-loved crime dramas appeared to be over in 2013.

But all was not lost. A Canadian rapper by the name of Drake, whose long-time love for London and the UK has been well-documented, watched season one and two of Top Boy on Netflix after being recommended it whilst on tour, sparking a chain of events that resulted in its return half a decade later as a Netflix Originals series, and the artist becoming one of its executive producers. Netflix reportedly spent $2 billion on marketing in 2018, with 85% of that budget spent on ‘title brands’, i.e. Netflix Originals. Top Boy billboards were recently seen in New York’s Times Square ahead of its worldwide release—a sign of things to come. 

UK music and acting legend Ashley Walters, who plays ‘Dushane’, helped to connect the dots that led to the revival of Top Boy—arguably his biggest role in a distinguished career. In 2004, director Saul Dibb offered Walters a role in the movie Bullet Boy—which changed his life and opened doors for him as an actor—and since then, his performances on screen have continued to improve, and his legacy continues to grow. Ashley’s highlights include starring in 50 Cent’s biopic, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Doctor Who, Grange Hill and countless other TV shows. More recently, we’ve seen the former So Solid member take on a lead role as ‘Officer Ronnie Pike Jr’ in Sky One’s Bulletproof, alongside Noel Clarke.

We caught up with Ashley Walters to discuss Top Boy’s return, working with Aubrey Graham on the show’s revival, and what he really thinks co-star Kano’s new music.

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