Stephen Graham: 'Combo should get his own This Is England spin-off show'

Stephen Graham
Stephen Graham as Combo in 2006 film, This Is England.

Stephen Graham says he would like to play Combo in a spin-off series after This Is England creator Shane Meadows left the door open on the character’s future.

We first met Combo in the multi-award winning 2006 film about skinhead culture in 1980s Britain and he cropped up many times  in the ensuing Channel 4 show, which concluded last year.

After turning his life around, Combo met a brutal end in the final episode of this Is England 90, yet Stephen says the show’s creator teased him by hinting the character could return.

“The way Combo went out was very sad,” said Stephen. “But afterwards Shane said ‘Well you never know! I didn’t shoot inside the door did I?’ I couldn’t believe what he was saying. ‘You can’t do that! I’m dead!’ I said to him.

"‘Well, we didn’t see it…’ he replied.

“Shane said the last series of This Is England was the final one, but you never know. Maybe he’ll bring them all back without me and that’s the end. I played it as if it was the end because I had to play the truth of the part.

“Maybe Combo could have a spin-off series? ‘The Ghost of Combo?’ Or something where he inhabits other people, like Quantum Leap. Combo’s Leap! That wouldn’t be a bad shout that. I’d go for it. That would be very interesting!”

Stephen, who stars in Channel 4’s dark new one-off film The Watchman on Channel 4 (Wednesday, August 24), is very much in demand at the moment, so it could be a while before ‘Combo’s Leap’ hits our screens.

Stephen Graham The Watchman

Stephen plays a CCTV operator in The Watchman


Yet the award-winning actor has never made a secret of how close to his heart the character is and admits his final scenes were difficult to shoot.

“It was so poignant,” he said. “It was heartbreaking because no matter who you were and how far you come, sometimes the past can come back and really bite you in the arse.”

“I knew what was coming straight off the bat, because Shane told me what was going to happen. He told me he was going to have a big ending with him. I loved the idea that this man who had really transformed and was a completely different person to the one we’d seen 10 years ago, went out like that.”

“Combo is a character that’s been with me for 10 years. I felt like everything else that come before that had been an apprenticeship to acting. Then I really felt like I understood the process. He’ll always be a monumental role to me in my life.”

Stephen Graham stars in The Watchman on Channel 4


Sean Marland

Sean is a Senior Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week, who also writes for He's been covering the world of TV for over 15 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are I'm Alan Partridge, The Wire, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.