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In Spotlight: Ashley Walters' best TV and movie roles - from Top Boy to Truckers
Ashley Walters is the Top Boy as Dushane Hill in the Netflix series, but he's had some other top TV and film roles too. We take a look at his best ones.
Ashley Walters was destined for great things from a young age. At just 10 years old, he appeared in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. But he really made his mark at 14, when he starred as young teenage runaway Andy Phillips in Grange Hill.
Roles in some of Britain’s most popular shows followed, including London’s Burning, The Bill and Holby City, not to mention highly praised performances in TV films The Murder of Stephen Lawrence and Storm Damage.
Then in the early 2000s, Walters made moves on the music scene. As Asher D, he played a massive part in transforming the UK garage scene and taking So Solid Crew to the top of the charts.
Since returning to acting, Walters has continued to make his mark in movies and on the small screen.
Now with Top Boy 2 coming to Netflix, we take a look at Ashley Walters' best TV and movie roles so far:
Top Boy - Dushane Hill
Top Boy hit our screens back in 2011 and Walters has played key character Dushane Hill since the start. Alongside his friend Sully, played by UK rapper Kano, Dushane is a drugs kingpin on the Summerhouse estate in London.
But the pathway to being a top boy isn’t easy. You never know who you can trust and Dushane has to deal with rival gangs, dangerous suppliers and the long arm of the law.
The show has a dedicated fanbase, especially since US rapper Drake brought the show back to Netflix after two series on Channel 4.
Walters revealed to Digital Spy, “With things like Top Boy, I would drive down the street and people would call me Dushane rather than Ashley and I hate that. I can imagine how Ian Beale must feel - his own wife probably calls him Ian rather than Adam.”
Top Boy 2 will air on Netflix on 18 March.
I Am Victoria – Christian
I Am is a trilogy of episodes that explore the experiences of three women in personal and emotional moments. The first episode of series 2 is titled I Am Victoria, and stars Suranne Jones in the lead role of Victoria. Ashley Walters plays her husband, Christian.
On the surface, Victoria appears to have the perfect life – a loving family, a great job and a lovely home. But look closer and things aren’t so rosy. I Am Victoria takes a closer look at mental health and how seeking help isn’t always easy when hidden beneath the veneer of happiness and success.
Speaking about working with Walters, Suranne Jones told Channel 4 that she loved his work and that he was on her ‘desperately want to work with list’. They both acted in the 2010 BBC series Five Days, but didn't share any scenes together.
I Am Victoria is available to stream on All 4.
Bulletproof – Ronnie Pike
In Bulletproof, Walters operates on the other side of the fence, working for the National Crime Agency to track down criminals in London’s East End.
Walters’ character Ronnie Pike is an aspirational family man, the son of a decorated police officer. He's desperate to replicate his success but not live in his shadow.
His partner Aaron Bishop (Noel Clarke) is the opposite – he never knew his dad, grew up in care homes and is influenced by the street. But together they’re a potent pair with the same moral code.
Bulletproof Series 1-3 are available to stream on NOW with an Entertainment Membership.
Safe House – John Channing
In 2017, Walters played Liverpool businessman John Channing in the second series of ITV drama Safe House.
In what appears to be a copycat crime, Channing’s partner Julie Delaney (Lynsey McLaren) is kidnapped and taken to a factory and left inside a shipping container.
Channing is then convinced to move to a remote Safe House with his partner’s teenage daughter Dani (Sacha Parkinson), after ex-copper Tom Brock (Stephen Moyer) suspects that it isn’t the work of a copycat but an accomplice to notorious abductor, The Crow.
Safe House is available to stream on BritBox.
Cuffs – PC Ryan Draper
Brighton-based BBC police drama Cuffs only lasted one series. The decision to cancel it baffled Walters, who told Digital Spy, "They were dropping Cuffs to make way for new drama and I thought Cuffs was a new drama. So I don't know what the ins and outs of it were but to be honest, the way I work, I just like to keep it moving.”
In the seaside show, Walters plays PC Ryan Draper, a committed cop and family man who likes to run a tight ship at home and at work, where he and his colleagues face tough challenges combating crime on the front line.
Cuffs is available to stream on BritBox.
Truckers – Steven
BBC mini-series Truckers is a light-hearted comedy which follows the lives of six truckers working for a northern haulage yard.
Walters plays the trucker, Steven. Walters explains: "[He's] a lad, you know, he can be quite sarcastic at times but he has a really genuine heart and has developed a really close relationship and bond with Malachi (played by Stephen Tompkinson) over the years of trucking together.
"He feels he is an expert when it comes to women and he is always giving advice to Malachi’s son about girlfriends - but to be honest no one really takes his advice seriously. It was nice to be playing a character who in most scenes is bringing some comedy to it.”
Truckers is available to buy on Prime Video.
Inside Men – Chris
Walters displayed a more sensitive side in the BBC crime drama Inside Men. The story’s told from the perspective of three security depot employees who plan to commit a multi-million-pound cash heist. Walters plays security guard Chris, alongside the manager of the cash counting house John (Steven Mackintosh), and the forklift driver Marcus (Warren Brown).
Talking about his character Chris, Walters said: “Chris is a very reserved character, very timid and quite shy. He has spent most of his life taking care of his mum who is an alcoholic. He’s given up on his own life when it comes to relationships and women.”
Inside Men is available to buy on Prime Video.
Hustle – Billy Bond
In 2007, Ashley Walters joined the team for season 4 of the BBC crime drama Hustle. He plays Billy Bond, the rookie hustler in a group of London con artists that pull off a string of daring and intricate stings.
With experience in the streets and selling drugs, Bond knows his place in the crew is his chance to hit the big time.
Hustle is available to stream on BritBox.
Get Rich or Die Tryin’ – Antwan
After the success of Bullet Boy, Walters secured a part in the 50 Cent film, Get Rich or Die Tryin’. In 2005, 50 Cent was one of the biggest rap stars on the planet, selling millions of records worldwide. The film is loosely based on 50’s life and Walters plays one of his close friends, Antwan.
With a shared background in music, Walters and 50 Cent became good friends on set. Fiddy even bought him a watch.
Get Rich or Die Tryin’ is available to stream on Netflix.
Bullet Boy – Ricky
After TV and music success (and a short spell behind bars), Walters came out firing in the film Bullet Boy. Walters won the Most Promising Newcomer at the British Independent Film Awards for his portrayal of the character Ricky.
With a premise Walters would become familiar with, Bullet Boy dives into the volatile neighbourhoods of East London, where 18-year-old Ricky has just returned from jail. Alongside his young brother Curtis and his friend Wisdom, Ricky has to deal with rival gang members after a minor street scuffle escalates into something much bigger.
Renowned film critic Mark Kermode commented, “Both Dibb (director) and Walters have travelled far since the days of Bullet Boy, but this urgent, low-budget British drama remains a defining moment in both of their diverse careers.”
Bullet Boy is currently not available to stream in the UK but is available to buy on DVD/Blu-Ray.