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13 Questions: actor Tommy Jessop

by Ivy Broadhead

26th October 2010

So a blind man, a man with learning disabilities and a man with restricted growth decide to scale the Blackpool Tower. This may sound like the beginning of a very un-PC joke, but in fact it’s the plot of a new radio drama starring actor with Down’s syndrome, Tommy Jessop.
Tommy Jessop and his co-stars in 'the Climb
The Climb, Written by Andrea Earl, follows John, Frankie and Bud as they pull together to make it to the top before the police manage to stop them. Tommy’s character, Frankie, dreams of climbing the Tower so he can follow in the footsteps of his hero Sherpa Tenzing. He draggs his two friends along for the adventure, but it turns out that they each have their own reasons for taking on the challenge.

Tommy’s other acting credits include the BBC drama Coming Down the Mountain alongside Nicholas Hoult, plus guest appearances in Holby City and Casualty.

Now 25, Tommy lives in Winchester with his family, where Ouch tracked him down to talk music, football, and a wicked bit of acting for our 13 Questions...

Today I'm thinking about ...

A play I’m working on called Captain Miserable and the Book Guardian. It’s really good fun so far, my character is Captain Miserable. The clue is in the name if you want to know what he’s like! It’s going to be on in Winchester at Christmas time.

I couldn't live without ...

My TV. I love watching Eastenders, Coronation Street, all the soaps! And football matches too.

I relax ...

By listening to music. I like all sorts, but there are two I hate; classical music and opera. My favourite band is probably Girls Aloud.

My motto is ...

Actions speak louder than words.

My ideal dinner guests would be ...

Cheryl Cole, because I love Girls Aloud, Patsy Kensit, and Alan Shearer, because I support Newcastle United. Football is my favourite sport, playing it as well as watching it.

If I were king for a day...

I’d ban smoking. It’s the one thing I hate most in the world right now! It’s really bad for you.
Tommy Jessop

If I could live anywhere in the world...

I would live in Hawaii, I went there on my gap year when I was 21 before I went to college, and I really liked it.

I got into acting...

because it’s fun, and it’s not hard for me learning lines. I started out in 2003 when I did a short play, and just carried on.

My favourite type of acting is ...

On TV, although I still enjoy radio and being on stage. I wouldn’t mind doing more radio if it came up, but TV is easier I think. I’d like to be in Eastenders one day; I thought their storyline about the baby with Down’s syndrome was quite good.

Seeing myself on TV...

is wicked! Even though I’m playing a character, it’s really me on there!

If I met someone with Down’s syndrome who wanted to act...

I’d say to them, keep on dreaming and hopefully one day you’ll be where I am right now!

Doing The Climb...

Was wicked! I’m not like my character Frankie though. It would be too scary to climb the Blackpool tower! The programme has got drama, it’s got tears, and some funny bits as well, something for everyone. Warwick Davis plays Bud, and Liam O’Carroll plays John, and they were both really nice people to work with.
Tommy and his co-stars rehearsing for The Climb

In the future ...

I’m going to carry on acting, and I really want to have a girlfriend! That’s what I’d wish for. There are a few girls I like at the moment, but we’ll see.
•Catch The Climb on BBC Radio 4 at 14.15 on Tuesday 26th October. The drama will be available on BBC iPlayer for seven days after the broadcast.

•Tommy regularly performs with the Blue Apple Theatre Company in Winchester. For more information visit


    • 1. At 7:27pm on 31 Oct 2010, bryonyw66 wrote:

      Hi Tommy, I listened to your play when I was driving down to go on holiday and loved it - so did my son who is 11. I teach Drama in a comprehensive school, and we are going to have a little girl with Down's syndrome starting there in September. I hope we can help her to be as successful as you!
      Take care,

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