This extraordinary 1×60 observational documentary for BBC Two and iPlayer follows award-winning actor Tommy Jessop as he sets out to create and pitch his own superhero movie in Hollywood.
Tommy was born with Down Syndrome. An actor and activist, he has always dreamed of being a leading man, and after starring in BBC ONE’s police drama Line of Duty, it felt as if anything was possible. However, further top roles have failed to materialise. Tommy wants to play a hero so, inspired by the advice of his agent, he decides to take matters into his own hands.
Accompanied by his brother, filmmaker Will Jessop, this film follows Tommy as he embarks on an epic creative journey to develop his own movie starring a superhero called Roger (named after his teddy bear). Roger’s adventures are based on Tommy’s own experiences of being a person who has Down Syndrome. But the process pushes him and Will to confront different challenges, and as their film idea develops so too does their relationship and understanding of each other.
If Tommy wants to get his movie off the ground, he must enlist some high-profile co-stars, learn the skills it takes to be an action movie hero and develop a killer pitch – all before jumping on a plane to Hollywood. Will their trip to Tinseltown deliver on Tommy’s dreams?
Co-authored by Tommy and Will Jessop, this is their first film together since 2014’s Emmy-nominated Growing Up Down’s for BBC3. Filmed by both Tommy and Will, the story of the brothers and their relationship gives the film intimacy, warmth and humour. This is as much a personal film about two brothers, as it is an epic real life superhero flick as Tommy chases his Hollywood ending.
Tommy says: “Making this documentary really has been an amazing adventure and a once-in-a-lifetime dream come true. It truly has been wicked having a camera and being able to tell my own story for the first time. Some of my personal highlights might include going to Hollywood with my brother Will, meeting A-list actors, pitching my own movie called Roger the Superhero, and having Tom Cruise cake. I give it 10 out of 10, and I do hope you will enjoy watching it.”
Tommy Goes to Hollywood (WT) is a BBC Studios Documentary Unit production for BBC TWO. It is co-created by Tommy Jessop and Will Jessop. The Executive Producer for The BBC Studios Documentary Unit is Will Lorimer. It was commissioned for the BBC by Clare Sillery and the Commissioning Editors for the BBC are Emma Loach and Fran Baker.