12 July 2013

Taron Egerton and David Walmsley: Bright New Stars of Sky 1’s Upcoming Firefighter Drama The Smoke

Taron Egerton David Walmsley The Smoke
Taron Egerton David Walmsley The Smoke
Earlier in the week I met up with friends Mark and Tony for a drink and a chat in one of Lewisham’s best pubs The Fox.  While I was buying a round I absentmindedly counted my money in Welsh (long story, but it’s easier than doing it in English if you are as semi-numerate as I am).  One of the guys playing pool just behind me overheard and started counting in Welsh too…

Now you don’t hear Welsh spoken often in Lewisham (even though I believe it was a Welsh enclave in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) so a conversation naturally ensued.  The Welsh speaker turned out to be Taron Egerton (above right) and his friend was David Walmsley (left).  I am the good looking one in the middle.

You might be scratching your head right now as neither is a household name, just yet but the title above has probably given you a clue.  They may, however, have to get used to being recognized in the street in the near future as they have been filming a new series for Sky 1 which will be broadcast in early 2014.

The Smoke will tell the stories of the White Watch team, London firefighters who tackle blazes while negotiating their own sometimes messy private lives.  The series is fronted by Jamie Bamber (most recently killed off in a hail of bullets in Law and Order UK) and Jodie Whitaker who gained a host of new fans for her performance as Beth Latimer in ITV’s compulsive Broadchurch earlier this year.

Taron Egerton David Walmsley The Smoke
Both Taron Egerton and David Walmsley have a strong theatre background but if you don’t put your bum on a theatre seat very often and their faces seem somehow familiar it is because neither is new to television.  You might remember Taron Egerton doing an excellent coma as Liam Jay in the Lewis two parter  The Ramblin' Boy (he wasn’t in a coma all the time!).  As for David Walmsley he did an equally excellent zombie, returning soldier Rick Macey in BBC 3’s mildly perplexing but thoroughly enjoyable supernatural drama In The Flesh.

It’s been a while since we had a mainstream TV drama about firemen and women in the UK. The last of any note was the long running and immensely popular London’s Burning which ran for over a decade starting in 1988 but has been off our screens since 2002.  Originally written by the legendary Jack Rosenthal, The Smoke has a lot to live up to but the signs are good.  It was written and created by Lucy Kirkwood who is mostly known as a playwright but has written for the Channel 4 drama Skins.

Egerton and Walmsley will play two of the firefighters of White Watch which promises to show what being a team member for this vital emergency service is really like in contemporary Britain.  The first series will be eight episodes and is quickly becoming one of Sky TV’s most anticipated new shows. 

Certainly if their fictional characters are as engaging on screen as Messrs Egerton and Walmsley are in real life, then The Smoke should make for great viewing.  I really enjoyed our chat in The Fox, gentlemen, and as I did, after all, promise you a shameless plug for your show, I hope that this is (as my grandmother used to say) adequate sufficiency.  I’ll see you on the goggle-box!