Most recently on screen, Anthony J. Abraham joined the cast of the Bad Education Reunion Special as Inchez, continuing in the role for the new series, which was shown on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer earlier this year, working with a cast including the show’s creator Jack Whitehall (who reprised his role of Alfie Wickers in the Reunion Special). Anthony played Artie in the CBBC/HBO Max series Theodosia and Marcus in the ITVX series Tell Me Everything, and he was in the cast of The Phantom of the Open and attended the world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. Last year, Anthony appeared in the short film Death and a Salesman, in which he plays lead character Drew. Answering our questions, Anthony chatted about playing Inchez in Bad Education, his time as Artie in Theodosia and attending the world premiere of The Phantom of the Open.
You play Inchez in the new series of Bad Education, can you tell us about the character and what is he like to play?
Inchez is this wannabe roadman who really wants to be seen as a cool kid but he’s just really not. He’s actually a secret choir boy whose name is Aloysius and his dad is a bishop, but that won’t stop him putting on this bravado front when with his friends and teachers. He’s a lot of fun to play because we’re so different but also because of how heightened he is. I can be a bit bigger and bolder and a bit silly playing him.
How is it on set of the series and what do you enjoy most about being part of the cast?
I had so much fun on set with my Bad Ed family. The days were long but we all supported each other really well. I enjoyed every part of shooting, from the car journeys with my amazing co-star Ali Hadji-Heshmati (who plays Warren) in the mornings, all the way up until we wrapped each day. Everyone was just great vibes and we had a great time filming.
What was it like reading the scripts for the first time and did you have a favourite scene or episode to film?
I really enjoyed reading the scripts and getting a much better sense of the energy of the series. It made me laugh which is a good sign for a comedy script. I’d say one of my favourite scenes is the Rivals episode where Inchez is trying to convince Hoburn that the school music teacher is stealing rap bars from Inchez to sell to big artists. The set-up for the scene is great. We have Class K telling a Inchez what to say through an ear piece he’s wearing. He finds a way to ‘Inchify’ everything they tell him and there’s a whole lot of miscommunication. For favourite episode, it’s between Rivals, Prison, and Glow Up, I think.
How much did you know about Bad Education before booking your role and what was it like filming the Reunion Special with the original cast members?
I knew of the show before finding out I was going to be a part of it but I hadn’t seen any episodes. Filming the reunion was a cool experience. The original cast were all really friendly and we all got along and had a good time filming and hearing stories of what it was like filming the original seasons.
Why would you recommend watching the new series on either BBC Three or BBC iPlayer?
The chaos of what goes down in Abbey Grove will have you smiling and I’m sure we’ll get a few laughs out of you too. It’s a really chill watch with a lot of funny moments and it has some heart too.
In the CBBC/HBO Max series Theodosia, you play Artie, what is this show like to work on and do you remember how you felt finding out you’d booked the role?
It was an amazing experience filming Theodosia. I got to go to Belgium for about two months in the summer of 2021. It was my first time filming in a studio and the sets were amazing, especially the vintage arcade that Artie owns. I love the cast and crew and filming with them was great! When I found out I’d booked it I was really excited for this new challenge. It was the first role I booked that required me to film for an extended period of time AND film in a different country.
Do you have any favourite memories from filming Series 1 of Theodosia and what was it like seeing the fan response to the show?
There are quite a lot of great memories from this shoot. The Euros (football) were on at the time so the cast and I enjoyed watching England play. Had really fun moments on and off set with everyone, especially the four leads, El (Little), Frankie (Minchella), Nana (Agyeman-Bediako), and Yas (El-Abd). Got to see a bit of Brussels too. From what I experienced, it seemed like it was received well and I had a few fans of the show messaging me on Instagram telling me that they enjoyed it.
What was it like filming as Marcus in the ITVX series Tell Me Everything?
I really enjoyed the experience of playing Marcus on the show. The series had a great team all round and I got along really well with my main scene partner Lauryn Ajufo, who’s a great actress. I enjoyed doing the character work and finding where Marcus sat within myself. Filming Tell Me Everything was off the back of wrapping on Theodosia so I liked the challenge of going from this ‘lovable slacker’ of a character in Artie, to a more grounded and thoughtful character in Marcus.
Can you tell us about the 2022 short film Death and a Salesman, in which you play Drew, and what was it like to be part of?
I remember getting the audition for this project through from my agent and reading the script and thinking it was funny. The story is essentially about a salesman, Drew, who finds himself in a very unfortunate situation after having a really tough day knocking on people’s doors trying to sell ‘super fast broadband’, and then, trying to sell his way out of this really tricky situation. It was a three-day shoot and I had a great time filming.
How did you find the experience filming for The Phantom of the Open and attending the world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival?
So, this was my first film credit and I remember being a bit nervous even though I only played a small part. It was also the first project I had to do an American accent for, so I really wanted to get it right. But the atmosphere on set was just what I needed to relax. The director, Craig Roberts, was someone I used to watch on CBBC so it was a bit surreal being a part of his project. I got to work with Mark Rylance and Sally Hawkins, who are both Oscar nominated, and Mark has also won an Oscar. That slightly added to my nerves but also gave me this sense of pride to be working with such amazingly talented people.
The premiere was a great experience. It was my first one and first time on a red (in this case green because the movie is about golf) carpet getting pictures taken, and the first time I saw myself on a cinema screen with a massive audience. My close friend and fellow actor, Reda Elazouar, and my older sister came to support me too, which was nice. It was a special night and I remember just feeling really grateful.
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you get into it?
It started in secondary school. I had some great drama teachers that saw something in me, I guess. They encouraged me to do school productions and from there I started to realise how much I enjoyed it. When I was 16/17, alongside doing A-Levels, I started doing acting classes at Identity School of Acting. I eventually got an amazing agent and started auditioning for projects from there. I’m really grateful to those drama teachers and also my drama class. They really did fan the flames of my love and passion for acting.
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch?
I’m a massive Christopher Nolan fan. I love all his movies but my favourite of his is Inception. Interstellar is a VERY close second. I also loved the Harry Potter movies when I was younger. Some of my other favourites are Fury, The Big Short, The Social Network, and Whiplash. Of course, I love a Marvel movie too!
For TV, I’m a massive fan of the Netflix Daredevil series. Love Game of Thrones, Ozark, Stranger Things and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. My current favourite show is definitely Succession. The acting and writing is phenomenal.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career?
I studied Electronic Engineering at university and have recently graduated, so that took up most of my time when I wasn’t acting. I love sports so a decent amount of my time is either watching sports or playing it (mainly football and tennis). I enjoy listening to podcasts and reading books as well – just finished reading Viola Davis’ autobiography and now I’m currently reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
What are you hoping 2023 brings for you?
Every new year I write down 10 goals I want to achieve so achieving them this year would be nice. But most of all I’m just hoping for the opportunity to keep working on and improving myself, as an actor, but also as a person.
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