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Tommy Jessop sets out to create a leading role for himself in new documentary

Tommy Jessop (Image Credit: BBC Studios, Will Jessop)

Line of Duty star Tommy Jessop has travelled to Hollywood to pitch a brand new concept for a movie or TV show – a superhero with Down’s syndrome.

Tommy is an award-winning actor and activist with Down’s syndrome. He has starred in high-profile TV programmes and short films, but he has never been in a leading role.

Now, he’s decided it’s time for change, and he has written his own screenplay with his brother Will Jessop – an Emmy award-nominated documentary filmmaker behind shows including 25 Siblings & Me.

“I think it’s about time that there should be a superhero with Down syndrome,” he said.

Tommy and Will’s journey to Hollywood will be broadcast in a new documentary tonight on BBC One.

Roger the Superhero

Roger the Superhero is about Roger Mitchell, who has three super powers – reading peoples’ minds, changing peoples’ minds and telekinesis.

With his powers, Roger will attempt to defeat the villain Nole Skum, who is essentially trying to screen out Down’s syndrome.

Tommy told the BBC that screening – a test which allows pregnant women to see whether their child might have Down’s syndrome – ‘scares him more than anything else’, as these tests sometimes lead women to terminate their pregnancy.

Tommy’s brother Will told the BBC that the screenplay therefore aims to strike a balance between fun and serious.

“Tommy is warm and funny and wise and smart, but there are also things that he cares about very deeply and there’s work that we need to do to make the world a better place for people with Down syndrome,” he said.

Hope from Hollywood

While the brothers are still yet to finalise their screenplay, they have managed to meet with a producer to pitch Roger the Superhero.

They told the BBC they had received a positive response from the producer, and Tommy says he is now one step closer to his dream of starring in a feature film.

They already have an idea of who might play Nole Skum and contacted Game of Thrones star Kit Harrington who agreed to perform a read through with Tommy.

Will said the rehearsal showed there was a real “proof of concept” of what they could go onto do, and they are now working on finalising the screenplay back in the UK.

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