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The good guys: Ashley Walters & Noel Clarke talk Bulletproof

ON-SCREEN CHEMISTRY: Noel Clarke and Ashley Walters tackle the bad guys

ASHLEY WALTERS is nonchalant when he recalls having the idea for new Sky One show Bulletproof the best part of a decade ago. “It’s normal,” he says when asked about being ahead of the cultural curve and bringing this project to life.

Set in London, with guns bussing, epic fight scenes and proper car chases, Bulletproof is a fun, authentic, action-packed ride around the city as Bishop and Pike tackle the bad guys in their own uncompromising style, all while maintaining their friendship, their relationships and taking on ghosts from the past.

It’s a refreshing take on a conventional blueprint; good guys have to get the bad guys by any means necessary. However, two black men in lead roles using the type of urban vernacular you would associate with ‘road man’, aren’t your typical front runners for the roles, but it works and works very well.

Talking to Life and Style about the creation of the new show which airs on May 15 at 9pm, Noel Clarke said: “Ash came to me about seven or eight years ago originally with the concept, like lets do this show.”

He continued: “We created this whole thing and it’s something that we wanted to get done for a long time but for various reasons it didn’t happen.”

Former MC Walters, who plays Officer Pike in Bulletproof, has been at the fore of mainstream entertainment in various guises over the years and said the feeling he got when the idea popped into this head was a familiar one.

“It feels normal (being ahead of the curve). What me and Noel have done is be pioneers, we’ve always been on the cusp of transition and a lot of the stuff we have done people have been inspired by, so this is nothing new.

“Anything I am trying to be involved in I don’t want it to be the same as someone else’s thing, I always want it be that person that is pushing the door open a bit more and pushing the boundaries and I think this could have went either way, but I think it’s very clear that we’ve got a big show on our hands.”

Fans of both Walters and Clarke will immediately be taken by the on-screen synergy between the two. Jokes are running from the off and the talent of both actors is highlighted by the effortless way the two it between intense scenes and those requiring more subtle emotion.

Clarke said: “The chemistry was really easy because me and Ash just get on, we get on really well and laugh a lot. We get on and laugh a lot more than people would expect or know, so bringing that energy and that banter to life on screen is simple even when the pages were different we would add spice to it and made sure that it kept that energy and that it kept that banter that we have in real life.

“There’s a good vibe between us that translates on screen.”

Walters added: “It got so bad that it would stop being funny to everyone else, that’s how much we held things up. We lost time and loads of things were happening because of it, don’t get it twisted not everyone on set was rolling around laughing with us, a lot of the jokes were just between us. But we needed to do that and I think you can see it on the screen.”

Noel Clarke and Ashley Walters talk about their new Sky One show BulletProof

Guns bussing every minute isn’t a feature of London life in reality, thankfully. However, both actors believed as well as communicating in a language that was relatable, in order to give the show the edge required, and action scenes needed embellishing.

“It’s a heightened show and we are the good guys, so if the bad guys are gonna bring it we’re going to bring it back,” Clarke enthused.

He added: “We didn’t want to make a conventional UK show, we wanted to make a show that was slightly heightened. The reality is you can’t walk around the station with your firearm, you have to check it in a safe, when you go out on a call you have to go and check it out, we didn’t have time for that.

“We’re making a real show but at the same time it’s also heightened in the respect that it’s cool, we can walk around with it but at the same time, we’re the good guys, we’re not glamorising it or trying to say this is what you should be doing, what we’re trying to say is we’re the police and we’re coming after you and if you’re going to buss shots, we’re going to buss shots back.”

Walters said: “There are police like us that exist in real life, you just don’t see them and we’ve never had a show about an organised crime unit.”

On how he thought the audience will relate to the show, Walters said: “It’s going to be automatic for a lot of people, the Top Boy crowd maybe a bit reluctant in the beginning but I think us adding things like the authenticity of the language is what is going to attract people and once they get into it, they will like it. You could even walk away from watching the show and be like ‘I might even join the police force’”, Walters joked.

Talking about the unconventional roles played by both, Clarke said: “It’s not just about being a cop show or whatever, we’re two black leads in a show and we’re not gangsters, we’re not drug dealers, we’re not doing anything bad, these are the good guys, you don’t see this. Ashley’s character is married to a black woman, they get on, they have baths together, no one is beating anyone, no one is falling out. It’s a beautiful thing and you just don’t see that. I feel that it is important for our people to see that representation on screen.”

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