Ashley Walters, star of Netflix’s hugely popular London crime series Top Boy, has recently revealed that he wishes there was more diversity in the entertainment industry – including a lead Black writer for his show.
Starring Walters as Dushane and UK rapper Kano as Sully, Top Boy takes place in the fictional estate of Summerhouse and follows the two as they attempt to balance their personal lives with their growing drug empire.
After Netflix aired the show’s fifth and final season, Walters spoke to The Times about the impact of the show’s ending, reflected on the legacy of Top Boy in general and shared his own experiences of working on the series.
On Top Boy’s script, which Irish screenwriter Ronan Bennett primarily wrote, Walters shared that “It would have been ideal for Black people’s stories to have been told by a Black person. So, I did scrutinise Ronan. But understanding the people he consulted for the script was key.”
Walters touched on what differences might occur if the show were to start anew in the modern climate, suggesting that Black writers would be the ones telling their own stories. “That may not be great for Ronan,” he explained, “but it’s huge for people like me.”
“I was one of the few Black actors allowed on TV before this wave of diversity, so seeing Black writers being championed feels amazing,” the actor continued. “Yet it’s a fight. It’s always a fight.”
The decision to conclude Top Boy was announced last April, with filming commencing in the summer of 2022. This season marks the end of a twelve-year journey – two initial seasons, Top Boy: Summerhouse, were a Channel 4 broadcast, but Netflix revived the franchise in 2019, setting the story six years after Summerhouse.