News 11 June 2018
Author: Seth P

How Noel Clarke & Ashley Walters paved the way for young black creatives

11 June 2018

Rewind back to 2010, while actor Ashley Walters was filming for the hit TV show Top Boy and having just been cast to play the character of Dushane opposite music icon Kano (the show that even had Drake as a fan), Ashley brainstormed an idea.

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Fast-forward to 2012 that idea was about to come into existence. Ashley would apply the concept of “thoughts become things” and start the journey that would make his dream become his reality. 


Ashley approached fellow actor and friend Noel Clarke with the script. The beginning concept was to create Bulletproof into a film, however, after Noel and Ashley took the project to Vertigo films and sat down with writer and Director Nick Love, they later decided it would be developed into a TV series and was supported and invested by Sky One.


Ashley and Noel play cop duo Ronnie Pike and Aaron Bishop in a Bad Boys style UK TV cop series. The loyalty and brotherhood between the two on screen characters is warming and charming. They look out for one another and they’re the good guys. These are not typical type casted roles that young black men are usually boxed into. Not the drug dealers, not the gangsters, in fact the show will have you probably filling out an online application to join the metropolitan police, just to want to get the bad guys!


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“Heightened drama” is how Noel Clarke describes this cop show, something that can reach a worldwide audience and engage their attention. It certainly does what it says on the tin!


Doors are opening and credit where credit is due, it was these two pioneering young men that in real life paved the way for many successful young artists and actors of mixed heritage.  The pair showed the youth of today on our TV screens people that they could relate to. You could aspire to go into the fields of entertainment. “I can be an actor” or “I can be a musician”, just like Ashley Walters and just like Noel Clarke. These young men are not given enough credit for the doors they have opened.


Series one and four episodes in, I am completely hooked. Bulletproof is gripping, funny, charming and charismatic. They have purposefully used this platform to change the typical stereotypes associated to black men. I don’t want to give too much away, so you will have to watch to see what I mean.


It is a brilliant series, a must see show and I hope they win some awards for having created and developed this witty drama themselves. You connect with them. You don’t feel alienated by the dialog used.


The show also features some other faces you may recognize; Lindsey Coulson plays Tanner, their department head whom you may remember for her role as Carole Jackson in Eastenders and Bishops girlfriend Sophie is played by stunning ex Hollyoaks actress Emma Rigby.


Actors like Noel Clarke best known for gritty London life iconic movies Kidulthood and Adulthood and Ashley Walters famed for parts in movies like Get Rich Or Die Tryin and Bullet Boy plus many more. Just IMDB them both: their CV’s are lengthy.

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Also not forgetting Ashley’s music roots and groundbreaking presence in So Solid Crew, which paved the way for starts like Black Panther’s Daniel Kaluuya (to which he credits Ashley in his BAFTA speech), praising him for being able to inspire him to have someone he could look at on the TV just like him. Both Noel and Ashley have never really been acknowledged for the doors they have opened for most of the talent that is able to come through today. They created those platforms.

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Bulletproof will have you screaming at your TV in shock and gasping in disbelief, then laughing at the banter the lads on screen share. These subjects are taking place! It is real London life.


The characters are fantastic.  Bulletproof was cast extremely well. The relationship between Pike and his father is interesting, the broken down communication barriers many will relate to. The personal relationships and journey these characters take you on, you grow with them. Pike and Bishop both add flavour to the show with their personal input of unscripted lines and it works really well.


You can catch Bulletproof every Tuesday on Sky One at 9pm. 

Written By: @Leylaloola