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Tommy Jessop stole the show at last night’s National Television Awards with his on-stage victory dance following Line of Duty’s big win.
The actor plays Terry Boyle in the hit series and was thrilled when the series bagged the gong for Best Returning Drama.
The hilarious moves left many viewers curious to learn more about the 36-year-old who starred in Series 5 and 6 of the successful police drama.
So who exactly is Tommy Jessop, and where might you have seen him before? Let’s take a look…
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Tommy boosted his career in 2019 after being accepted on the BAFTA Elevate program, which supports actors from underrepresented groups.
After he left school, he founded Blue Apple Theatre, a group dedicated to assisting actors with learning disabilities in taking their next steps on stage.
Tommy is the first actor with Down's syndrome to ever star in a primetime BBC television show.
In 2007, he starred in BBC1’s BAFTA-nominated Coming Down the Mountain when he was 22 and said he was the first person with Down's he had ever seen on television.
He is now 36 and an established face in the world of TV and film.
Speaking about his love for the industry, he told the Guardian: “Making viewers feel emotions is my passion in life.”
His most recent performance in Line of Duty was met with critical acclaim, with rumours circulating that even the Queen was a fan.
BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominated director Julie Anne Robinson has previously complimented Tommy's work and endorsed his skills as an actor.
She said Tommy is “spectacularly charismatic…a very skilful actor…. makes a tremendous impact on screen‘.
Tommy also previously participated in the Emmy-nominated documentary Growing Up Downs.
He has also appeared on stage performing the role of Hamlet in the Shakespeare play and won praise from Royal Shakespeare Company legend Mark Rylance who told Tommy his performance was “phenomenal”.
His recent passion project is cooking, where he shares the results on Twitter with his nearly 30,000 followers.
Asked what advice he would give other young actors with Down’s syndrome, Tommy is positive for their success.
“Keep on dreaming and believing,” he says. “One day, you really will reap the rewards of your hard work.”
He believes passionately that disabled people need to be given chances to appear on screen, playing a wide variety of characters.
“Look at the type of people I’ve played: a murderer, a fighter, a thief, a fisherman, a football fan ….”
He says that the biggest barrier is breaking down any preconceptions directors might have.
“The biggest challenge is to persuade producers and showrunners to believe in performers like me," he added. "People making short films seem to believe in us and trust us as performers to create amazing work – people making feature films need to learn from them.
"Just let us play characters with the same hopes, dreams and adventures everyone else has!”
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