Stephen Graham: My dyslexia means my wife chooses my roles

Stephen Graham (left) and Hannah Walters attending the Yardie premiere at the BFI Southbank in London.
Stephen Graham (left) and Hannah Walters attending the Yardie premiere at the BFI Southbank in London.

Stephen Graham has said his dyslexia is so bad that his wife reads his scripts for him and chooses his roles.

The Line Of Duty star has been open about his struggle with the learning difficulty and said he relies on help from his actress wife Hannah Walters.

Discussing his rehearsal process during the Bafta Sessions on performance with fellow nominees for the British Academy Television Awards, Graham referred to his experiences with Shane Meadows, with whom he worked on the This Is England series.

Stephen Graham
Graham and Walters with the cast and crew from This Is England ’90 including, Shane Meadows (fourth from right) (Ian West/PA)

He said: “With Shane you spend a lot of time getting into the character and you spend the majority of time doing that and then when you’re in the room it’s whatever happens.

“With the script it’s knowing it, knowing it, knowing it and then throwing it away.”

He added: “I’m dyslexic so I struggle. My missus actually reads the script and says whether or not I’m doing it. She’s made some good choices.

“I have to read it and read it and read it, then make it look like it’s the first time I’m saying it.”

Graham, who is nominated in the best supporting actor category for his work on Save Me, recently stunned viewers with his character’s shock death on Line Of Duty.

John Corbett was killed off in the latest episode of the hit police drama as he tried to quit the group he was undercover with before getting his throat cut.

Line of Duty
Stephen Graham in Line Of Duty (Aiden Monaghan/World Productions/BBC)

Graham appeared on the Bafta panel alongside Killing Eve star Fiona Shaw, who discussed the “trilogy of women” at the heart of the show, in which she stars alongside Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh.

She referred to “the binary choices between good and evil, and the ‘virgin’ Jodie plays, who’s the most charming, most evil person, and the good person in Sandra’s Eve, who is becoming less good, and she’s the ‘middle-aged’, and then there is ‘the crone’ (Shaw’s own role), as it were, in the scheme who is sometimes negotiating between the two”.

“It’s a very ancient structure and whatever is left out by the other two can be filled by the third person.”

Fiona Shaw
Fiona Shaw (Ian West/PA)

Praising the show’s original writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is helping on the script of the next James Bond film, Shaw said: “Phoebe is quite dazzling in the way she can spin plates.”

Also on the panel was Kiri actor Lucian Msamati, Killed By My Debt star Chance Perdomo and Stath Lets Flats creator and star Jamie Demetriou.

The Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards will be presented on May 12 and broadcast on BBC One.


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