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Tommy Jessop Goes To Hollywood | Preview (BBC One)

Line of Duty actor Tommy Jessop is on a mission to show that people with Down syndrome can play heroes too. He’s starred in high-profile TV programmes and short films, and now he wants to be a leading man.

But the right roles are not being offered to him, so Tommy decides to take matters into his own hands. With the help of his brother, filmmaker Will Jessop, Tommy sets off on an epic creative journey to develop his own superhero movie and pitch it in Hollywood. This is a warm, funny and original documentary about daring to dream, created by Tommy and Will.

Tommy Jessop is on a mission to show that people with Down syndrome can play heroes, but the right roles are not being offered to him. So, inspired by the advice of his agent, Tommy decides to take matters into his own hands.

Enlisting the help of his brother Will, Tommy sets off to make his own superhero movie. He names his superhero Roger, in honour of his teddy bear, and bases Roger’s superpowers on his own experiences of being someone with Down syndrome. Tommy sometimes feels as if the world does not understand or value people like him – he, and his super-powered alter ego, are determined to change that.

Tommy’s dream is to pitch Roger the Superhero in Hollywood. The brothers call in every favour they can think of and use guerrilla tactics as they try to get Tommy’s movie off the ground - enlisting their mum as a stunt driver and sending video messages to famous actors asking them to play Tommy’s baddie.

The pair manage to charm their way into a stunt training day to shoot an action trailer, with Tommy facing off against a small army of bad guys. Amazingly, the bolder and more ambitious they are, the more it seems to pay off. As the film idea develops, so too does the brothers’ relationship and their understanding of one another.

Soon Tommy and Will are jumping on a plane to Hollywood for their first trip abroad together on their own. The brothers lark through La La Land, singing along to S Club 7, making new A-list friends, and preparing for the ultimate test: a pitch in front of a top Hollywood producer with the power to make Roger the Superhero a reality. Can the brothers’ trip to Tinseltown deliver Tommy’s dream?

Throughout this one-off special, the sibling duo meet high-profile film industry talent including Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), Will Sharpe (The White Lotus), Zack Gottsagen (The Peanut Butter Falcon), Neve Campbell (Scream) and JJ Feild (Captain America), and producer Joel Zadak (Key and Peele). The message is loud and clear: Tommy can do this.

This is the third documentary that Tommy and Will have made together, after the Grierson-nominated Tommy’s Story (2007) and the Emmy-nominated Growing Up Down’s (2014).

Tommy says: “This documentary is an amazing adventure and a dream come true. It truly has been wicked having a camera and being able to tell my own story. Some of my personal highlights are going to Hollywood with my brother Will, meeting A-list actors, pitching my movie called Roger the Superhero, and singing along to S Club 7. I give it a 10 out of 10, and I hope you will enjoy watching it.”

Tommy Jessop Goes To Hollywood airs Monday 21st August at 9pm on BBC One.


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