Anthony Walker was a Liverpool teenager with a devout Christian faith and a love of basketball.
Known to his family and friends for his humour, intelligence and compassion, Anthony was halfway through college with dreams of visiting America and studying Law at university. On 29 July 2005 in Huyton, Merseyside, Anthony was murdered in a racist attack. He was 18 years old.
Anthony is the story of the life he could have lived. Inspired by conversations with Gee Walker, Anthony’s mother, about the boy Anthony was and the man he was to become, Anthony is written by multi-Bafta winner Jimmy McGovern (Broken, The Street, Cracker) and made by LA Productions for BBC One. Anthony Walker will be played by Toheeb Jimoh (The Power, Ted Lasso) and Rakie Ayola (Shetland, Noughts + Crosses) will portray Gee Walker.
They will appear alongside Julia Brown (World On Fire), Bobby Schofield (Knightfall), Stephanie Hyam (Bodyguard), Shaniqua Okwok (Small Axe), Robinah Kironde (The Widow), Dominique Moore (A Confession), Phina Oruche (Taken Down), Siobhan McSweeney (Derry Girls), Ade Ajibade (Intergalactic), Wesley Bozonga (Sliced), Leo Wringer (Black Earth Rising), Lorna Gayle (Carmilla), Jay Lycurgo (I May Destroy You), Josh Bolt (Last Tango In Halifax) and James Ledsham (Levelling The Score) who all play key roles in the film.
Gee Walker, Anthony Walker’s mother, says: “I went to Jimmy because I couldn’t think of anyone more suited who could depict, highlight and draw attention to the hard messages of a life not lived – Anthony’s unfilled dreams, his potentials and the many lives he would have impacted on – which now will never be realised.”
Jimmy McGovern adds: “I’d known Gee Walker for many years and every time I had needed to write about loss or grief I had gone to her and she had always been generous with her time and her profound wisdom. But one day SHE came to ME and asked me to write about her beloved Anthony. I said, “Gee if you’re asking such a thing, I feel I have a God-given duty to do it.” And so I did it.”
Toheeb Jimoh, who plays Anthony Walker, says: “Anthony’s story is a painfully tragic one but it’s also full of hope, joy, promise and love. Jimmy’s script captures that perfectly. I hope this film will serve as a tribute to Anthony and I feel truly honoured to have been asked to play him.”
Rakie Ayola, who plays Gee Walker, says: “I’m so grateful we’ve been able to shine a light on Anthony Walker’s story with the blessing and generosity of his mother Gee Walker.”
Colin McKeown, executive producer for LA Productions says: “Both Donna [Molloy] and I were privileged to have produced Anthony. It follows a rich vein of factual drama that LA Productions has been delivering for almost a decade now. It means a lot to me personally as I am from the same village as the Walker family and it is typical of Gee to draw positive conclusions from tragic events.”
Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “When commissioning drama linked to real life, we consider carefully the individual lives at the heart of the drama but also the wider societal story it might tell. Anthony is a case in point. A unique blend of fiction and reality, steered by Jimmy McGovern’s conversations with Anthony’s mother Gee Walker, it is the story of a young man who tragically lost his life but also of a life he might have led. We are honoured to be telling it on BBC One.”
Anthony will be directed by Terry McDonough (Cold Feet, An Adventure In Space And Time, The Street) and produced by Donna Molloy and Colin McKeown. Executive Producers are Colin McKeown for LA Productions, Lucy Richer for BBC One, and Jimmy McGovern. Anthony was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content. The film will be distributed internationally by ITV Studios.
Anthony was filmed in and around Liverpool and will air on BBC One. This is the sixth collaboration between LA Productions, Jimmy McGovern and BBC One, following award-winning success with Care, Broken, Reg, Common, and ten series of BBC Daytime’s Moving On.