Celebrities

Line Of Duty's Tommy Jessop gets role in Steven Spielberg's WWII drama

Line Of Duty star Tommy Jessop escapes AC-12’s watchful eye to rub shoulders with Hollywood royalty as he lands role in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming World War II drama Masters Of The Air

  • The actor, 36, has become known to fans of BBC series Line Of Duty as recurring character Terry Boyle
  • Tommy was spotted on the set of Spielberg’s upcoming series in a sleepy Buckinghamshire village of Bledlow
  • Adding to the star power, Masters Of The Air is also produced by Oscar-winning Hollywood actor Tom Hanks
  • While Tommy’s role in the Apple TV series has yet to be announced, the actor teased a ‘top secret’ project
  • He revealed that the secret gig in question has required him to learn boxing, sword fighting and fishing
  • Among those also in the cast are Barry Keoghan, Austin Butler, Anthony Boyle and Jude law’s son, Rafferty
  • Based on the Eighth Air Force of the US Army Air Forces, the series reportedly began shooting in February

He’s become beloved to Line Of Duty fans for his role as Terry Boyle in BBC’s ratings juggernaut Line Of Duty.

And Terry Jessop is now rubbing shoulders with Hollywood royalty, after landing a role in upcoming World War II drama Masters Of The Air, executive produced by none other than Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.

The 36-year-old actor was spotted shooting scenes on the set of the show, which is based on the actions of the Eighth Air Force of the US Army Air Forces in the sleepy Buckinghamshire village of Bledlow.

Landing a big role: Line Of Duty star Tommy Jessop was spotted shooting scenes for upcoming Apple TV series Masters Of The Air in Buckinghamshire earlier this week

Action: In the latest season, the Terry Boyle actor has starred in several key moments including a very dramatic scene which saw him crash into a lake (pictured with Kate Fleming played by Vicky McClure)

A far cry from the gritty surroundings on the set of his BBC show, Tommy was seen getting fussed over by hair and makeup and wardrobe teams as he stood amid the rolling green home county hills.

Dressed in a loose-fitting white shirt with a patterned white tie, Tommy looked dapper as he waited to step before cameras in his period costume, which also consisted of baggy dark trousers and suspenders.

A huge filming operation could be seen set up around the Lions Of Bledlow pub, as the sizeable cast and crew took over the picturesque village, which sits on the county boundary with Oxfordshire. 

And while Spielberg or Hanks were not present on the day Tommy was spotted filming, heavyweight Hollywood producer Gary Goetzman was seen sharing his insight as he sipped on a warm beverage.


Hair and makeup team: A far cry from the gritty surroundings on the set of his BBC show, Tommy was seen getting fussed over by hair and makeup and wardrobe teams as he stood on the set

In good spirits: Amid all of the fuss surrounding him, the 36-year-old actor cracked a smile as he spoke with the sizeable crew



Ensemble: Dressed in a loose-fitting white shirt with a patterned white tie, Tommy looked dapper as he waited to step before cameras in his period costume, which also consisted of baggy dark trousers and suspenders

Coat: His brown quilted coat, which kept him warm between shooting, was removed when he was ready to go before cameras

Among those also in the cast are Barry Keoghan, Austin Butler, Anthony Boyle and Jude law’s actor son, Rafferty.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, who helmed the latest and much-delayed James Bond film No Time To Die, the Apple TV series is reported to have been shooting in the UK since February.

While Tommy’s role in the series has yet to be announced, the actor teased a ‘top secret’ project on Twitter. He revealed that the secret gig in question has required him to learn boxing, sword fighting and fishing. 

Tommy’s new project comes as the actor waxed lyrical about his character’s intense interviews and dramatic action scenes, calling them ‘wicked’. 

In the latest season, the actor has starred in several key moments including being grilled by DI Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and crashing into a lake alongside PC Ryan Pilkington (Gregory Piper) in a bid to get him to stop talking.



And after reappearing as a key member of the cast, Tommy revealed that many fans have been asking if he’s really the elusive H that Ted Hastings is hunting down.  

Gushing about being in the show during an interview with The Sun, Tommy said that he loves filming the more tense or dramatic moments. 

He said: ‘It’s infamous for intense interview scenes and I love being in them. Jed directed some of my scenes, which was quite wicked. 

‘Being on Line Of Duty was like being on a James Bond set. It was wicked being in the dramatic scenes like the car chase and the lake.’

Tommy explained that he did also have a stunt double for the lake scenes but that it was ‘like being in Antartica’ in the freezing cold water.



He added that the cast were given hand and foot warmers as well as hot water bottles after filming to warm themselves up.

And after appearing in several episodes in the new series, Tommy said that some of his fans have asked if he could be H. 

Refusing to give anything away, he said: ‘People are now asking me whether Terry is H. Obviously I can’t tell you anything, you will just have to keep watching.’ 

The actor also detailed how he hopes his high-profile role will help to change other peoples opinions and become ‘more accepting of a diverse range of people’.  

Tommy added that he knows people who are competitive swimmers, drag queens and local councillors and wants to help show the diverse things they can do.




Line Of Duty is undoubtedly Tommy’s most high profile gig to date. 

He first appeared as Terry Boyle in one episode of series 5. The character first appeared in the first series, in 2012, but was played by a different actor, Elliott Rosen.

He’s a significant character because the gang used his fridge to store the dismembered body of property developer Jackie Laverty (Gina McKee). 

At the start of series six, DCI Jo Davidson’s squad arrested Terry on suspicion of the assassination of a journalist, Gail Vella, though it seems obvious that Terry is not capable of carrying out such a crime.

Since then he’s been questioned again by Kate Fleming and also involved in a near-death car crash which saw Ryan Pilkington plunge a police car into a lake.


Luckily for Terry, Fleming was following the vehicle and managed to stop Ryan from killing him and help him to dry land.

Writer Jed Mercurio has also come under fire over a line in a script in which Ted Hastings referred to Terry as a ‘local oddball’, a dismissive term that provoked an angry reaction from disability campaigners.

Mercurio defended the language, saying it was a reference to the 1999 murder of TV presenter Jill Dando. Police arrested Barry George, who was wrongly imprisoned for the killing. He later said his only crime was to be the ‘local oddball’.

But the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) said it was ‘fantastic’ to see an actor with the condition in the show – and this was ‘the most important part’ about it. 

Tommy made his TV debut in Holby City and became the first actor with Down’s syndrome to play a leading role in a primetime TV drama when he was cast in the BAFTA-nominated Coming Down The Mountain opposite Nicholas Hoult. 

He has also appeared in Casualty and Doctors, landed roles in critically-acclaimed short films, and is the first professional actor with Down’s syndrome to play Hamlet, in a performance that Sir Mark Rylance hailed as ‘phenomenal’. 

Tommy’s acting career has been supported by parents Jane and Edmund and his brother William, a documentary filmmaker who once said: ‘Tommy can’t really tie his own shoelaces, but he can stand on stage and break your heart. 

Uproar over Line Of Duty ‘oddball’ comment

Writer Jed Mercurio came under fire over a line in a script in which Ted Hastings referred to Tommy’s character Terry as a ‘local oddball’, a dismissive term that provoked an angry reaction from viewers and disability campaigners.  

Viewers said the label was ‘disappointing’ and ‘appalling’.

Others said the term used as series six began Sunday night was ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘poor form’ – and made even worse by yesterday being World Down Syndrome Day.

But the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) said it was ‘fantastic’ to see an actor with the condition in the show – and this was ‘the most important part’ about it.

Writer Jed Mercurio insisted the term ‘oddball’ referred to what Barry George had thought the police perceived him as after being cleared of killing Jill Dando in 2008. 

Jane, a former marketing executive, discovered their youngest son had Down’s syndrome on the day he was born.

‘My first reaction to finding out Tommy had Down’s syndrome, which was on the very first day, was “why has God sent him to us?”,’ Jane recalled in William’s 2013 short film about his brother, Tommy’s Story. 

‘But I was also very worried for his older brother, that this would affect his life. I always thought people would look at me differently as well. But of course, none of these things turned out to be true.’  

William, who has made two films about his brother and produced sperm donor documentary 25 Siblings And Me, explained how growing up they were ‘just like any other brothers’. 

‘We played football together, or on the climbing frame, or cricket,’ he recalled in a 2014 interview.  

‘I know my Mum was worried at first about how having someone like Tommy for a brother would affect me, but actually I don’t remember it ever being an issue. 

‘I now realise that Tommy is an incredibly strong, bonding force in our family. We’re all still very close, and I love spending time at home.’   

Once Tommy aged out of youth theatre, his mother Jane, who is chairman of her local branch of learning disability charity Mencap, found there was nothing suitable for her son locally and decided to start her own theatre group in 2005.

Blue Apple Theatre, based in Winchester, Hampshire, casts adults in their 20s and 30s with learning disabilities in shows, giving them acting opportunities they wouldn’t have elsewhere. 

Tommy’s big break came in 2007 when he was cast in the BBC1 TV adaptation of Coming Down The Mountain, a radio play by Mark Haddon which focuses on the relationship between a boy with Down’s syndrome and his resentful brother. 

The feature-length film, co-starring Skins and X-Men star Hoult as Tommy’s brother, was nominated for a BAFTA and an Emmy award.    

In 2012, Blue Apple Theatre’s production of Hamlet toured 12 theatres and garnered celebrity attention. Sir Mark Rylance praised Tommy’s ‘to be’ speech as ‘phenomenal’.

William made a documentary, Growing Up Down’s, about the rehearsals for the play, while also capturing Tommy and his co-stars reflecting on love and life with Down’s syndrome.

He starred in the production alongside his then girlfriend Katy, although the pair split up during filming.  

‘Tommy and Katy started going out during the filming and Katy was his first-ever girlfriend,’ William said in an interview about the film.

‘The scene in the documentary where they are breaking up is so powerful. Because I know Tommy so well, I don’t see him as someone with Down’s. I just see him as Tommy, but it was moving for me to see how mature he was.’

Major role: Tommy Jessop has said that he loves filming his Line of Duty character’s intense interviews and dramatic action scenes, calling them ‘wicked’ (pictured at the 2020 BAFTAS) 

Great TV: The actor also said that he loves filming the interviews as Line Of Duty is ‘infamous for intense interview scenes’

Siblings: Tommy’s brother William once said: ‘Tommy can’t really tie his own shoelaces, but he can stand on stage and break your heart’ (pictured together in 2015)

Theatre star: In 2012, Blue Apple Theatre’s production of Hamlet toured 12 theatres with Mark Rylance praising Tommy’s ‘to be’ speech as ‘phenomenal’. Pictured, Tommy, second from right, with the cast including his then girlfriend Katy

Breakout: Tommy’s big break came in 2007 when he was cast in the BBC1 TV adaptation of Coming Down The Mountain, a radio play by Mark Haddon which focuses on the relationship between a boy with Down’s syndrome and his resentful brother. Pictured, Tommy with the cast 

On screen: Tommy first appeared on screens as a supporting character in a 2007 episode of Holby City 

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