This Is England star Stephen Graham made OBE for services to drama

He is best known for his performance as English nationalist Andrew ‘Combo’ Gascoigne in the 2006 film.

30 December 2022

Stephen Graham has become an OBE for services to drama in the New Year Honours list.

The 49-year-old Merseyside-born actor has won plaudits playing Irish, English and American criminals and police officers in various blockbuster Hollywood films and hit TV dramas across his three-decade career.

He starred in the 2000 crime comedy film Snatch alongside Brad Pitt and Jason Statham, as well as 2019’s gangster epic The Irishman, where he played real-life mobster Anthony Provenzano alongside Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.

Boiling Point UK premiere – BFI London Film Festival 2021
Stephen Graham and his wife Hannah Walters (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Graham also played criminals Stephen Shang in Gangs Of New York in 2002, Baby Face Nelson in Public Enemies in 2009 and infamous mobster Al Capone in period crime drama series Boardwalk Empire.

He is perhaps best known for his role of short-fused English nationalist Andrew “Combo” Gascoigne in the 2006 film This Is England.

He later reprised the skinhead character in the Channel 4 series This Is England ’86, This Is England ’88 and This Is England ’90.

Graham has credited his fellow This Is England and Boiling Point co-star and wife Hannah Walters for helping him following a suicide attempt during a period of despair in his early 20s.

Speaking on BBC Radio Four’s Desert Island Discs in 2019, the actor said they moved in together in south London after what was technically their first date following a period of talking.

He added: “This is kind of where Hannah came into my life properly.”

The mixed-race actor also said during the radio show he suffered racist abuse on the streets of Liverpool.

Walters, who is also executive producer of an upcoming five-part series based on Boiling Point along with Graham, also helps him choose his roles.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Premiere – London
Stephen Graham at the UK premiere of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy (Ian West/PA)

Graham told a Bafta session: “I’m dyslexic, so I struggle. My missus actually reads the script and says whether or not I’m doing it. She’s made some good choices.”

He also stunned viewers with DS John Corbett’s shocking death on Line Of Duty in series five more than three years ago.

Corbett was killed off in the hit police drama as he tried to quit the group he was undercover with before getting his throat cut.

In 2022, Graham starred in the hard-hitting ITV drama The Walk In, the musical film Matilda, comedic police series Code 404 and had a role in hit BBC show Peaky Blinders.

He also starred in Help, set in a Liverpool care home, alongside Jodie Comer, with the Channel 4 film winning the International Emmy for TV movie/mini-series in November.

Hard-hitting prison drama Time, co-starring Sean Bean, also won best mini-series at the Bafta TV Awards this year.

Graham has also had roles in Sir Sam Mendes war film 1917, the Pirates Of The Caribbean series, crime drama White House Farm and spy film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

He will star in an upcoming biographical drama about competitive American swimmers, Young Woman And The Sea, and Second World War historical drama Blitz along with Saoirse Ronan.

– Anyone who needs support can call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org or visit the Samaritans website.

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