If anyone suggests that someone with learning difficulties can’t act or dance professionally, point them in the direction of Tommy Jessop. When someone of the calibre of Sir Mark Rylance calls the performance of this young actor “phenomenal”, it’s time to sit up and take note.
Tommy’s debut in the BAFTA-nominated primetime drama Coming Down the Mountain (BBC) alongside Nicholas Hoult was simply astonishing, and he’s gone on to make a mark in everything else he’s done for stage and screen since. With star turns as the guest lead in episodes of Casualty and Holby City (both BBC), and memorable roles in Monroe (ITV), Doctors (BBC) and feature film Day of the Flowers (2012) over the past decade, Tommy has helped break down barriers about disability in the screen industries. More recently, he made a cameo in Line of Duty (BBC) in 2019. Tommy won Best Lead Actor in a Short Film for Down and Out at the Southampton International Film Festival and at the Kinofilm Festival.
Tommy is also one of the founding members of Blue Apple, a theatre and dance company dedicated to supporting performers with learning difficulties to develop and present high quality productions for the widest possible audiences. Tommy’s turn as Hamlet, the first professional actor with Down syndrome to play one of Shakespeare’s most famous creations, featured in the Emmy-nominated documentary Growing Up Down’s (BBC), directed by Tommy’s brother, William.
Tommy’s latest project, a short film called Innocence, has just been released and has been selected for the Cambridge Film and Aesthetica Short Film festivals.