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Tom Burke from BBC series Strike: The Cuckoo's Calling started acting career in Faversham

By Joe Wright

The lead actor in a hit BBC drama can trace his roots back to Faversham, where he started out his successful career.

Tom Burke, 36, who portrays detective Cormoran Strike in the critically acclaimed Strike: The Cuckoo’s Calling, learned his craft at the Arden Theatre.

Known for his role as Athos in The Musketeers and for his part in the recent War and Peace adaptation, he first tried his hand at acting at Faversham’s youth theatre in Leslie Smith Drive.

Tom Burke's acting career started in Faversham
Tom Burke's acting career started in Faversham

Managers at the 98-seat theatre expressed their delight at seeing his career go from strength to strength, saying they take a “teeny bit of pride in seeing him put in another compelling performance”.

Mr Burke, whose godfather was the late acting heavyweight Alan Rickman, has received plaudits for his gritty portrayal of the detective created by JK Rowling.

Reviewer Digital Spy hailed the performance as a “revelation” and The Express and The Guardian described the show as a hit.

Morgan Jeffrey from Digital Spy wrote: “The character of Cormoran Strike could easily be one big cliché – like so many lesser TV crime-solvers, nothing more than a bundle of tics and physical quirks.

Holliday Grainger and Tom Burke in the BBC drama Strike: The Cuckoo's Calling
Holliday Grainger and Tom Burke in the BBC drama Strike: The Cuckoo's Calling

“The fact that he’s not is down to a few things, but chiefly Tom Burke’s quietly charismatic performance. Cool yet poised, scruffy yet stylish, low-key yet possessing an irresistible cheekiness, Cormoran’s not a superhuman like Sherlock, but a thoroughly unromantic and refreshingly ordinary hero.

“For those used to seeing Burke play period posh boys, his performance here is a revelation.”

The three-part series came to a close last Sunday but the next case in the series, the two-part Strike: The Silkworm, started last night on BBC One.

It features scenes filmed at Penshurst Place near Tonbridge.

Mr Burke has acted in films alongside Johnny Depp, Kevin Spacey and Ryan Gosling.

And in 2004, he played Romeo in the Shakespeare classic at the renowned Globe Theatre.

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