Stephen Graham, the renowned Liverpudlian actor, star of numerous films and TV dramas, such as This Is England, Snatch, the new Martin Scorsese film, The Irishman and the last Line of Duty series, has spoken about his suicide attempt in his 20s and his battle with depression.
He also starred in the recent Shane Meadows series on Channel 4, called The Virtues, in which he played a man haunted by his past in a care home in the Republic of Ireland. A series which was yet another great vehicle for this actor’s talents.
Now, I’ve got to say, in my humble opinion, Graham is one of the finest of his generation. Don’t take my word for it.
The fact that Scorcese has chosen him to star alongside Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel and Joe Pesci in The Irishman, says everything about his talent too. Not the first time Scorcese has chosen Graham to star in one of his films.
Below is a clip from The Irishman;
He is able to convey a range of emotions so well, as this other clip shows.
His body of work already is incredible and the future as well as the present, belongs to him.
(Obviously, some would say that I would think that a fellow Liverpool Football Club devotee is a great actor. Christopher Eccleston, who I mentioned in a previous post is a Man Utd fan though, so the football club people follow isn’t the only determinant from my perspective!).
Would someone like Stephen Graham, growing up now, have the ability to access acting like he was able to? The sad and realistic answer is probably a big, fat, unfair and frankly, shitty, No. As I’ve written before, schools, through having to attract more funding to be viable, are pre-occupied with having the best results on school league tables so that parents choose them over their rivals.
It’s important that leading professionals in their field continue to talk about their own mental health battles, especially people that the general public can relate to because then awareness is raised and stigma gradually reduced.
Whether it’s sports professionals, actors, reality tv stars or members of the royalty.
Stephen Graham has, like many other people, overcome adversity and now has the chance to shine and fulfil his potential. He’s been very open over the years about his dyslexia and how his wife will read through prospective scripts for him.
How many people don’t get the opportunity to overcome that adversity?
How many people don’t get the chance to shine?
Everyone needs a helping hand from time to time. It’s important that people are not written off.
However, right now people ARE being written off. Marginalised and not given the ability to be socially mobile. This will obviously result in ultimately, social unrest and it doesn’t have to be this way.
We can have the opinion that it’s how things are or we can rail against them.
(Like the Hillsborough Families have done for over 30 years, in order to get justice).
THE EDUCATION SYSTEM NEEDS A SHAKEUP
Right now, there are Young People who are being put under pressure by teachers either consciously or sub-consciously, to achieve results.
Some of the Young People can cope with the pressure but not all.
School should, as well as being a place where Young People learn, be a place where Young People have fun; yes. Fun.
If our children are happier then they will attain more.
There are more potential Stephen Grahams out there who haven’t got access to drama because their schools are having to gain more funding by emphasising core subjects, so they look attractive to potential future pupils and their parents, on the league tables that are published.
How many future Formula One drivers are there like Lewis Hamilton, who says himself that the accessibility for working class drivers has diminished not increased.
How many potential Tennis stars are there in our schools? For too long tennis has been the preserve of the middle classes.
How many people do not reach their potential because they are Not treated like individuals?
Young People who don’t have all staff walking in their shoes. Seeing the world through their eyes. Understanding them. The trouble is, teachers are being put under too much pressure too. The situation is ridiculous.
Our Young People are the future of our country. Let’s nurture them, not pressurise them into a situation where they contemplate taking their own lives because they feel so upset, sad and stressed. Where they don’t want to let people down.
Apologies that this post isn’t full of humour. Full of sarcasm. It’s because I, along with a multitude of others, want change.
Everyone deserves a chance to shine.
When people are given hope and a chance they then go on to justify the faith.
People like Stephen, who is now at the pinnacle of his craft and who will go onto to win numerous awards, could have been tragically lost to us all through depression.
Tonight Young People will contemplate not continuing to live.
Due to feeling overwhelmed because they are given the impression that their results mean everything.
Things must change. They must. We must make them change and not accept the way things are. Our Young People deserve for us to passionately improve their lives.
Thanks for reading.
(Give yourselves a treat and listen to Desert Island Discs with Stephen Graham being interviewed by Lauren Laverne).
It is a wonderful episode.