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Jimmy Akingbola has spoken about how inspiring he found the young Black police officers he met while preparing for his role in The Tower.
The Ted Lasso actor plays DC Steve Bradshaw in ITV's adaptation of Kate London's crime novels and said he had taken his research into being a Black officer seriously after his own experiences growing up in East London.
He said: "Growing up in East London, Plaistow, Canning Town, knowing people's views of the police, I was intrigued. What is it like for a young Black man like Steve in the police force and what made him join the police.
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"After not just last year, but all the things that have been going on year after year, how does a man like Steve be in the police force?"
Akingbola, 43, said that he had spoken to author Kate London, a former Met Police officer on a homicide squad, who wrote the Post Mortem novels on which The Tower is based.
She put him in touch with some of her former colleagues and with young Black police officers to give a better idea of their experiences in the force.
Asked whether he was surprised by what the officers had to say, Akingbola replied: "No. Being a young Black man in London and seeing the things that have gone on and being able to empathise with it.
"It's really brave to join the police force, there's a lot of sacrifice. A couple of police officers told me about their families getting a lot of flack because they joined the police force. There were some that had really positive experiences as well.
"I wasn't surprised, but I was inspired because it's not easy being a young Black police officer."
The Tower begins with a shocking scene as a veteran officer and a teenage girl fall from the top of an inner city tower block.
However, there were four people on the roof - rookie officer Lizzie Adams and a five-year-old boy survived, but Lizzie goes missing and DS Sarah Collins (Gemma Whelan) is tasked with leading the investigation.
Akingbola said that viewers should expect something very different from the usual ITV detective dramas from the opening scene.
He said: "I doesn't feel like ITV. I think of all the great shows that are on streaming channels, no disrespect to the networks but I think the bar's been raised so high."
The actor added: "Don't get me wrong, I love ITV, but I think it's got such a great audience it can also be relaxed and get used to putting out the same thing and I think there's nothing like this and it's going to surprise a lot of people."
The Tower starts on ITV soon.
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