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Brilliantly Intense: Why Stephen Graham is one of Britain’s finest

Tom Jolliffe on why Stephen Graham is one of the most electrifying actors of his generation…

I recall, (probably in the same film as a lot of people), the first time I became aware of Stephen Graham. It was as Tommy in Snatch, Guy Ritchie’s cockney gangster epic mk2. Tommy was sort of slow, a bit gormless, but endearing, and for a time I’d just assumed Graham was another East End actor that I might see pop up in other gangster films. In actuality, I didn’t and he wasn’t. Such was the seemless transition from Stephen to Tommy, that it didn’t occur to me his background might actually be further North, just outside Liverpool in Kirkby.

Certainly in that first role in Snatch, one could see an accomplished actor, but not at that point someone able to produce the sort of brimming intensity and threat

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