Interview with Levi Brown who plays Dante in This Town

A high octane thriller and a family saga, This Town opens in 1981 at a moment of huge social tensions and unrest

PHOTO: (Image: BBC/Banijay Rights, Kudos)



31 March 2024

Interview with Levi Brown who plays Dante in This Town

Can you set the scene of the show?

We are in Birmingham and Coventry in 1981 and it’s kicking off. There is a huge sense of injustice and unfairness going on at the time. I think people aren’t happy, people are angry. We meet all of our characters in the middle of that.

How would you describe the premise of the show?

There is a real sense of not wanting to be on a certain path, of fighting a destiny that feels like other people are setting for you. When injustice and unfairness is rampant the only thing you can do is come together and make some noise. I think back then that was more a thing to do than it is now. Back then we didn’t have social media so you couldn’t just go on Twitter and rant about what’s going on, you actually had to go out there and do something about it. For a lot of the characters it’s about wanting more, wanting more than what’s being offered, expressing themselves and making it work in their favour.

What can you tell us about your character, Dante?

He brings a lot, and he is quite relentless. I suppose one of the things people should know about him is that he is in love when we first meet him. I think that’s so lovely, the simplicity of that. Then it develops into something completely different. He is a poet and I think that’s one of the first things I honed in on. It’s a way of expressing yourself. It’s not usually for other people, its usually for yourself. He obviously felt this need to express himself and do something and that was it. When we first meet him the big thing he is focusing on is love and Fiona.

What were some of the challenges involved with being this character?

One of the biggest challenges was the guitar. My fingers are not my fingers anymore. They were sort of broken and healed over and now I have got guitar hands.

I am from Dudley and the accent is different to a Birmingham accent, but it came quite naturally. I think the way that Steven writes, the rhythmic nature of it helps you naturally form this rhythm with your voice and the way you say things.

What was it like to come together as a band?

The first time we had come together as a band was when we did the screentest together. It was the day after we all met properly. We were all staying in the same hotel and we met for a drink. It instantly clicked, it was mental because we felt like we had known each other for a long time. A weirdly long time. We have these ‘BFF’ bracelets now that Ben bought us. We spend so much time together now, outside of work. Ben is actually in a band so we went to see him, it was great.

When we eventually got to band rehearsals it was like everything a band goes through in sort of a decade, we went through in about a month. Arguments, disagreements, highs, lows, all of it. It was intense but it was so good. We got to the point where we did covers. When we got bored of our songs we would start doing covers and School of Rock songs. We did some Blink 182. It was brilliant.

Can you tell us a bit about Dante’s look and how that changes?

I feel like there are definitely characters in this show who are a lot cooler than Dante, and have a way better looks. When you first meet him he basically puts on whatever he finds. He is quite neat I suppose, coming back from college with a shirt buttoned to the top.

The duffel coat is iconic and funnily enough some of his early outfits actually look quite cool because they are just so individual, you could probably walk out on the street today wearing that stuff and get along fine.

As the series progresses, he starts to find things that speak to him. I think he starts to wear things that make him feel that he can do it, that he can be that person. As we go on little bits keep dropping in- the hat, then the sunglasses. And then obviously the suit as well. When I first put that on it did feel really uncomfortable, because I don’t really wear suits. But I have now worn that suit so many times when we are performing that it is a part of him and a part of me. It feels great.

What is it about This Town that you think audiences will connect with?

Something I hope that people will take away is just how beautiful Birmingham can be if you can look at it from the right angles.

How does the sound of the band develop through the story?

It starts off too nice, because Dante is still in love and he is still playing with that idea of being in love. He is still writing beautiful poems. The first song he ever writes is a poem which becomes this lovely song about his nan. As he starts to experience more new things, he gets inspired. I think he is someone who constantly looks out for inspiration. I think he sees things that other people don’t and when that starts to become more intense, the music becomes more intense, more felt and real and hard. Hardcore, a bit angry.

How does music influence the decisions of your character in the story?

Music becomes a massive part of Dante’s life and it turns from something that he likes to do into something that he needs to do. He speaks about the music being in his head and coming to him in pictures and colours. I think music motivates him because he just needs to get it out. It needs to leave him. He needs to unleash it onto the world. I think for him music is sort of the thing that moves him all the way through the show, it’s his driving force. If he doesn’t get it out he won’t see the point in doing anything else.


Set in a world of family ties, teenage kicks and the exhilarating music of a generation, This Town tells the story of a band’s formation against a backdrop of violence, capturing how creative genius can emerge from a time of madness. Both a high octane thriller and a family saga, This Town opens in 1981 at a moment of huge social tensions and unrest. Against this backdrop, it tells the story of a group of young people fighting to choose their own paths in life, and each in need of the second chance that music offers.

This Town (6x60) is produced by Kudos (a Banijay UK company) and Nebulastar for the BBC, co-produced with Mercury Studios, in association with Kudos North, Stigma Films and Nick Angel.

This Town is available in full on BBC iPlayer from 6am on Sunday 31 March, with episodes one and two airing on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday 31 March and Monday 1 April. The series continues on BBC One on Sundays at 9pm.

Source BBC One

April 1, 2024 4:00am ET by BBC One  


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