A Thousand Blows — cast, plot and all about the boxing period drama

A Thousand Blows on Disney Plus and Hulu sees Stephen Graham as a Victorian era boxer.
A Thousand Blows on Disney Plus and Hulu sees Stephen Graham as a Victorian era boxer. (Image credit: Alamy)

A Thousand Blows on Disney Plus and Hulu sees British actor Stephen Graham play a dangerous underworld boxer in a period drama by Peaky Blinders writer Steven Knight who is lead writer on the 12-part series. Stephen Graham is also a co-producing the show.

A Thousand Blows is set in 1880s Victorian London, and based on real-life characters and events. The series shines a light on the illegal boxing rings that existed in Victorian inner cities by following two best friends from Jamaica, Hezekiah (Malachi Kirby) and Alec (Francis Loevehall), who find themselves thrust into the vibrant and violent world of post-industrial London. The Crown star Erin Doherty plays Mary Carr, leader of The Forty Elephants, the notorious all-female London gang. Time and Help star Stephen Graham will play seasoned boxer Sugar Goodson.

“To be able to work with Steven Knight again and the talented team of writers we have for this project is truly wonderful, and to tell the story of these incredible characters during this period of time in London is a joy,” says Stephen Graham who starred in Peaky Blinders, also written by Steven Knight. 

“Aside from having the privilege of bringing the role of Sugar Goodson to life, I am also extremely proud that Matriarch is co-producing this show whilst helping to create opportunities for people in front of and behind the camera, instilling the ethos of providing training within production that otherwise would be difficult for some to pursue as a career.” 

Here’s everything we know about A Thousand Blows so far…

The cast of A Thousand Blows.

The cast of A Thousand Blows (from left) Malachi Kirby, Erin Doherty, Stephen Graham and Francis Lovehall. (Image credit: Disney Plus)

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is lead writer on A Thousand Blows.

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is lead writer on A Thousand Blows. (Image credit: Getty)

A Thousand Blows release date 

The 12-part series A Thousand Blows will premiere on Disney Plus in the UK while US viewers will be able to watch it on Hulu. There’s no release date yet but we believe it will arrive in 2023. Keep an eye on this page and we’ll update it when one is announced. 

What it the plot of A Thousand Blows?

Over 12 episodes, A Thousand Blows follows best friends Hezekiah and Alec as they move from Jamaica to London’s East End in the 1880s. Hezekiah finds himself drawn into the criminal underbelly of the thriving boxing scene and meets Mary Carr, the leader of the notorious all-female gang The Forty Elephants. As Hezekiah sharpens up his new skills, he is pitted against the ruthless boxer Sugar Goodson (Stephen Graham) and the pair become embroiled in an intense rivalry that goes far beyond the ring. 

A Thousand Blows cast — Stephen Graham as Sugar Goodson 

British acting stalwart Stephen Graham, who plays seasoned boxer Sugar Goodsen in A Thousand Blows, has an impressive and prolific CV. Stephen played Lee Sankey in Coronation Street in 1999 and went on to appear in Band of Brothers, Gangs of New York and the 2000 movie Snatch. He starred in This is England and has gone on to be in Little Boy Blue, Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge, The Virtues, A Christmas Carol, Save Me, Peaky Blinders and White House Farm. He played chef Andy Jones in Boiling Point, was Line of Duty baddie John Corbett, and starred in Help with Jodie Comer and Time alongside Sean Bean. He’s currently starring in the comedy Code 404 and will play Mr Wormwood in the upcoming film Matilda

Stephen Graham as John Corbett in Line of Duty.

Stephen Graham as John Corbett in Line of Duty. (Image credit: BBC)

Who else is starring in A Thousand Blows?

Other cast of A Thousand Blows includes Malachi Kirby as Hezekiah, Francis Lovehall (Small Axe) as Alec and Eirn Doherty (The Crown, Chloe) who plays Mary Carr who is the leader of the all-female gang called The Forty Elephants. Jason Tobin plays Mr Lao and James Nelson-Joyce is Edward “Treacle” Goodson. The Forty Elephants will feature Hannah Walters as Eliza Moody, Nadia Albina as Verity Ross, Morgan Hilaire as Esme Long, Jemma Carlton as Belle Downer and Caoilfhionn Dunne as Anne Glover.

Locations and behind the scenes on A Thousand Blows

Filming of A Thousand Blows is taking place in London in 2023. Tinge Krishnan (The Mosquito Coast, Industry) is lead director and executive producer, with Hustle actor Ashley Walters and Coky Giedroyc joining as series directors.

A Thousand Blows is created, written and executive produced by Steven Knight, starring and executive produced by Stephen Graham and Hannah Walters for Matriarch Productions, Damian Keogh and Kate Lewis for The Story Collective, and Tom Miller and Sam Myer for Water & Power Productions. Award-winning broadcaster and historian Professor David Olusoga acts as executive producer on the series with Barrington Robinson as first-block producer. The Original series is executive produced by Lee Mason, Director of Scripted Content EMEA for Disney+.


Is there a trailer for A Thousand Blows?

It's too early for a trailer but when Disney Plus or Hulu releases one we’ll post it on this page. 

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.