‘It’s Like We Can Reach Fame’ Ipswich Support Group Praises Line of Duty For Choosing An Actor With Down Syndrome


A support group for people with Down syndrome praised the popular Line of Duty TV show for choosing an actor with the disease, saying they wanted other shows to follow in their footsteps.

Tommy Jessop as Terry Boyle in the BBC hit drama Line of Duty.

Project 21 operates a performing arts club for people with Down’s syndrome in Suffolk, Essex and Cambridge and has said that seeing actor Tommy Jessop, who has the genetic condition, star in a mainstream show has been an inspiration.

Hayley says seeing actors with Down’s syndrome on television makes her feel like she can reach for the stars. Credit: ITV News Anglia

For avid dancer Hayley, seeing Tommy on the most talked about TV show is inspiring.

Hayley, Amy and Polly are best friends. They love to dance together at Project 21 and go out to clubs. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In Ipswich, the group of over-18s are reunited again after the pandemic brought their dating online and now, having all had their second jabs at the same time, they can dance together in person again.

A charitable organization, Project 21 started three years ago as a way to give people with Down syndrome the opportunity to socialize and perform and to prove to people that they are not underestimated.

Teenagers Martha Evans and Edward Wagland are both aspiring actors and say seeing someone on screen with the same genetic disorder they have is a big inspiration.

David enjoys playing the guitar and feels inspired by the show. Credit: ITV News Anglia

After his performance in Line of Duty, Tommy was spotted filming a Steven Spielberg movie and with his career in Hollywood, it is hoped that there will be a shift towards disability that will be seen more in theaters.

Alex Munn founded Project 21 in 2018 when she saw a need for clubs specifically designed for people with Down’s syndrome. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Learn more about Project 21 here.


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