Stephen Graham and Malachi Kirby to Star In Steven Knight Period Boxing Drama ‘A Thousand Blows’

Stephen Graham in BritBox drama "Time"

Stephen Graham in "Time"

(Photo: BritBox)

Stephen Graham (Time) and Malachi Kirby (Small Axeare set to star in Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight's upcoming Disney+ period drama A Thousand Blows, a story set in the perilous world of illegal boxing in 1880s Victorian London.

Loosely based on real-life figures and stories, the series will follow the journey of Hezekiah Moscow and Alec Munroe, two best friends from Jamaica who find themselves drawn into the underground world of East London's underground bare-knuckle boxing scene. There, Hezekiah meets Mary Carr, leader of The Forty Elephants — the notorious all-female London gang —who sets about exploiting his talents to further her criminal enterprise. His rise will ultimately bring him up against dangerous and seasoned fighter Sugar Goodson and their rivalry will spill out well beyond the ring.

Kirby is set to star as Hezekiah, while Graham will take on the role of Goodman. The castings for the roles of Alec Munroe and Mary Carr have yet to be revealed. 

The series was one of the buzziest titles to come out of last year's Edinburgh TV Festival and is Knight's first series for Disney+, and the drama seems as though it will boast the same combination of unique period setting and violent undertones that categorized Knight's popular story of a Birmingham gangster family. 

 Malachi Kirby in "Small Axe"

 Malachi Kirby in "Small Axe"

(Photo: Prime Video)

“I’m really thrilled to be working on this project with Stephen as well as the very talented production team and group of writers,”  Knight said in a statement when the series was initially announced. “I always love to delve into untold history, and this is a story that really deserves to be told. We are recreating an amazing world and telling a remarkable true story.”

Knight is the lead writer for the series, with episodes also written by Ameir Brown, Insook Chappell, Harlan Davies, and Yasmin Joseph. The series is being produced by The Story Collective in a co-production with Matriarch Productions and Water & Power Productions. The UK Original series will premiere on Disney+ vertical Star and stream on Hulu in the U.S.

"To be able to work with Steve again and the talented team of writers we have for this project is truly wonderful, and to tell the story of these incredible characters during this period of time in London is a joy," Graham said. 

No premiere date has been announced yet, but with several key cast members yet to be announced it's likely we won't see anything on our screens before the end of the year. In the meantime, Knight's Great Expectations will arrive on Hulu in March, and a second season of his popular World War II drama SAS Rogue Heroes is in the works, as well as a Peaky Blinders feature film. 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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