John Boyega has offered fans a first look at his starring role as police officer and anti-racism reformer Leroy Logan in Sir Steve McQueen’s anthology series Small Axe.
The Star Wars actor, 28, plays the real-life Metropolitan Police officer, who was motivated to reform the force from within after seeing his father assaulted by two officers.
Mr Logan was awarded an MBE in 2001 for his contribution to policing and retired in 2013 after 30 years’ service.
He is also a former chairman and founder of the Black Police Association Charitable Trust.
Sharing a photo of himself in police uniform, Boyega wrote: “Had the joy of teaming up with Steve McQueen for his hotly-anticipated series Small Axe.
“Here’s a first look! Black British history will be televised!”
Boyega’s episode, titled Red, White And Blue, sees him star alongside Prince of Persia’s Steve Toussaint and newcomers Tyrone Huntley, Nathan Vidal and Jaden Oshenye.
Sir Steve co-wrote the episode with Courttia Newland.
The series will feature six hour-long films telling five different stories, with the first told across two episodes, all set within London’s west Indian community between the late 1960s and early 80s.
The title Small Axe is derived from a Jamaican proverb which has resonance throughout the Caribbean, “if you are the big tree, we are the small axe”.
Small Axe is also the title of a Bob Marley song from his 1973 album Catch A Fire.
It means that relatively marginal or small voices of dissent can successfully challenge more powerful voices.
Filming for the series – which will also star Letitia Wright, Malachi Kirby, Shaun Parkes, Rochenda Sandall, Alex Jennings and Jack Lowden – began on location in London last year.
In June, Boyega played a prominent role in the Black Lives Matter protests in London.
The actor made an emotional speech in Hyde Park which referenced the death of George Floyd.