The Hollywood Reporter is exclusively reporting that Steven Knight and Stephen Graham are developing period drama series A Thousand Blows, based on a true story set around the world of illegal boxing in 1880s Victorian London.
Based on real-life figures and stories, the series will follow Kezekiah and Alec, two best friends from Jamaica who find themselves thrust into the vibrant and violent melting pot of post-industrial revolution London’s East End. Drawn into the criminal underbelly of the thriving boxing scene, Hezekiah meets Mary Carr, leader of The Forty Elephants – the notorious all-female London gang – as they battle for survival on the streets. As Hezekiah sharpens his new skills, he comes up against Sugar Goodson, a seasoned and dangerous boxer, and the two are soon locked into an intense rivalry that spills out way beyond the ring.
Stephen Graham will be playing the role of Sugar Goodson. Graham released a statement saying:
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. Aside from having the privilege of bringing the role of Sugar Goodson to life, I am also extremely proud that Matriarch is co-producing this show whilst helping to create opportunities for people in front of and behind the camera, instilling the ethos of providing training within production that otherwise would be difficult for some to pursue as a career. ‘Don’t count the days… Make the days count’ — Muhammad Ali.
Steven Knight also released a statement saying:
I’m really thrilled to be working on this project with Stephen as well as the very talented production team and group of writers. 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.
Lee Mason, director of scripted content EMEA for Disney+, and also executive producer on the series, released a statement saying:
It’s a privilege to work with this extraordinary group of talent, helmed by our fearless creator Steven Knight. A Thousand Blows tells a story that we rarely get to see on screen, and we are delighted to have the inimitable Stephen Graham and visionary Tinge Krishnan help bring this incredible world of richly diverse characters to life.
The series, a Disney+ UK original, is created, written, and executive produced by Steven Knight, with Stephen Graham serving as producer under his banner Matriarch Productions. A Thousand Blows will consist of twelve episodes, and will premiere on Disney+ globally, wile in Latin America it will be available via Star+ and on Hulu in the US.