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Lost For Words

Ashley Walters

Ashley Walters was born in Peckham, London, in 1982. Raised by his mother in the absence of his father, he studied at the Sylvia Young Theatre School. Beginning his acting career at the age of 15 on BBC teen drama Grange Hill, he became a core member of influential rap group So Solid Crew in the early 2000s, under the name Asher D. Since then, he has released several solo studio albums and reached international acclaim as the lead in hit TV series Top Boy on Channel 4 and Netflix.

Ashley was estranged from his father when, in 2004, he revealed that he was suffering from terminal lung cancer. With just weeks to live, the 45-year-old flew to meet Ashley in Canada, where he was shooting a film. During this time, Ashley recorded footage of his father and spoke to him about his own childhood, an experience that helped Ashley come to terms with their difficult relationship.

Ashley Walters

I had a really rocky relationship with my dad, before I knew he had cancer. We hadn’t spoken for two, three years and I thought that he was saying he was dying to get back into my good books, because I was that adamant that I was never going to speak to him again.

Ashley and his father

I was shooting a movie in Canada and he was told that he only had four weeks to live. Against his doctor’s wishes, he booked a flight and just turned up in the airport in Canada.