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Birth nameAshley Thomas
Born (1985-02-04) 4 February 1985 (age 36)
Hammersmith, London, England
OriginKensal Rise, London, England
GenresBritish hip hop, grime
Occupation(s)Rapper, actor, songwriter, music supervisor
Years active2003–present
Associated actsTinie Tempah, Chip, Wretch 32, Gorillaz, Kano]

Ashley Thomas (born 4 February 1985), also known by his stage name Bashy, is an English musician and actor, from Kensal Rise, London, England.

Early life[edit]

Thomas was born in Hammersmith, West London, the first born of a Jamaican mother and Dominican father. He attended St Mary's of the Angels RC Primary School. At age eleven, his family moved to Kensal Rise, northwest London and he attended the Cardinal Hinsley High School. Thomas attended The BRIT School for Performing Arts as a theatre student.

During the release of the Chupa Chups Mixtape, Thomas was a struggling independent musician and worked for Royal Mail as a postman. He worked there for a year to save money, then left to pursue a music career full-time. The money was soon spent, as his music career did not take off as envisaged, it was during this period that he decided to become a bus driver.

Musical career[edit]

Black Boys[edit]

In 2007 Thomas released the song "Black Boys". It was this track that propelled Thomas into the nation's consciousness, catching the imagination of a country suffering from many incidents of violence amongst its inner-city youth.[citation needed]

With frequent reports of shootings and stabbings on news bulletins, and with the media continually focusing on the lack of role models in certain communities, he felt that the nation's inner city youth needed a reminder that they had a number of positive role models they could look to for inspiration. His début single provoked controversy, as some people called the track racist. This prompted the governing body Ofcom to investigate. Rumours soon began to circulate that the track had been banned from TV. Certain sections of the black community were outraged; groups were set up on the social networking site Facebook in order to fight the ban. Racist videos were put up as responses to the track on YouTube, in which men dressed as Ku Klux Klan members would hurl abuse at black people, with the track playing in the background. This prompted people of many races to get behind and support Bashy, in a united stand against racism.[citation needed] It was as a result of this publicity and grass roots action that Bashy was invited to perform at the Love Music Hate Racism Rally in 2008 at Victoria Park, to a crowd of 100,000. He was asked to take the main stage alongside Damon Albarn.[1] Bashy persuaded various British artists to share their views on the subject. Skinnyman, Ty, Big Narstie, Tinie Tempah, Wretch 32, Chipmunk, Swiss, Durrty Goodz, J2K, Skepta, Sincere, Akala and Scorcher featured on the track.


Thomas soon found himself working on Adulthood. Noel Clarke, director and star of Adulthood first encountered Bashy when he was passed a copy of his earlier mixtapes, which contained samples from Clarke's previous Kidulthood film. Clarke was so impressed by what he heard that his thoughts soon drifted from copyright protection to how to get Thomas involved in the follow-up. He asked Thomas to submit a track to be included on the soundtrack, and Thomas delivered "Kidulthood to Adulthood". Thomas also delved into the grime scene and gathered music from other artists for Clarke to listen to. Clarke then asked Thomas to act as assistant music supervisor for the entire film. [2]

Catch Me If You Can[edit]

Thomas released his debut album, Catch Me If You Can, on 1 June 2009. rated the album 'good' and stated "Catch Me If You Can is a debut album that perfectly encapsulates how hip hop has become the world's local music. With vocal accents, lyrical references, swagger and varied production styles that will take a minute for the non-Brit to get their head around, much of this likeable and well-intentioned set still deserves wider attention."[3]

Acting career[edit]

Although initially starting out as an actor Thomas landed his first role in 2010 as Rager in British flick, Shank, An independent action film set in a decaying future London. He then went on to feature in Noel Clarke's that same year.

In April 2010, BBC Learning launched Off By Heart Shakespeare, a recital contest for secondary school pupils. For the project, he took on the role of Shylock from The Merchant of Venice and delivered one of the character's most memorable speeches; "To bait Fish withal".[4]

Early in 2011 he signed on to play the lead role in The Man Inside, opposite Peter Mullen, David Harewood and Michelle Ryan. Later that year, he was part of an ensemble cast in Cockneys vs Zombies, taking up the role of Mental Mickey. The Metro newspaper described Thomas' wild card performance as "Brilliant".[5]

Thomas' first television role came in the winter of 2011, in the Emmy award-winning series Black Mirror by Charlie Brooker for Channel 4 as Judge Wraith in the episode "Fifteen Million Merits". The Guardian cited "All the performances are good – especially Ashley Thomas as Judge Wraith ...".[6] Thomas' next film was My Brother the Devil which received critical acclaim, winning awards at both the Sundance Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival.

After being strongly considered for the hit Channel 4 TV series Top Boy season 1 in 2011,[citation needed] Thomas was included in season 2 as Jermaine Newton in 2013.

Early in 2015, Thomas guest starred in the BBC series The Interceptor. Thomas' next TV appearance would be as Gil in the short lived fantasy drama Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands for ITV in January 2016. Thomas signed up to the ensemble cast of A Hundred Streets released the same year.

Early in 2016, it was confirmed Thomas would appear as Calvin Hart in the HBO limited series The Night Of directed by James Marsh and Steve Zaillian.[7]

In March 2016, it was announced Thomas was set as a lead role in the 20th Century Fox Television reboot of franchise series 24 as Isaac Carter.[8]

In 2018, Thomas played the brother of lead character Luca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) in the legal drama The Good Fight, airing on CBS All Access. While Thomas and Jumbo are British, both use American accents in the show.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
2009 Catch Me If You Can
  • Independent studio album
  • Released: 1 June 2009
  • Label: Ragz2Richez (Independent Label)


  • 2005: Ur Mum Vol One
  • 2007: The Chupa Chups Mixtape
  • 2008:
  • 2010: The Fantasy Mixtape
  • 2011: The Crunchie Mixtape
  • 2012: The Great Escape EP
  • 2013: Mixtape Legend (Compilation)

Singles and music videos[edit]

Year Title Chart Positions Album
2008 "Black Boys" (featuring Loick Essien (uncredited)) Catch Me If You Can
"Kidulthood to Adulthood" 86
2009 "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (featuring Toddla T)
"Your Wish Is My Command" (featuring H-Boogie)
"Fantasy" (featuring Preeya Kalidas) 88
2010 "Make My Day" (vs. NAPT)
2013 "These Are the Songs" 87
2014 "Bring the Lights Down" (featuring Jareth)

Guest appearances[edit]



Year Title Role Notes
2010 Shank Rager
2010 Smooth
2011 The Veteran Tyrone Jones
2011 Cockneys vs Zombies Mental Mickey
2012 The Man Inside Clayton
2012 My Brother the Devil Lenny
2016 100 Streets Jules
2016 Brotherhood Calvin
2018 Skin (2018 short film) Jaydee Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Black Mirror Judge Wraith Episode "Fifteen Million Merits"
2015 The Interceptor Dexter Blair Episode 1.3
2016 Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands Gil 4 episodes
2016 The Night Of Calvin Hart Episodes: "The Art of War", "The Season of the Witch"
2017 24: Legacy Isaac Carter Series Regular
2018 The Good Fight Dominic Quinn Episode: "Day 429"
2018 Ice Malcolm Rose 5 episodes
2018 Salvation Alonzo Carter Series Regular (season 2)[9]
2013–2019 Top Boy Jermaine Newton 7 episodes
2019 NYPD Blue Detective Chris Gamble Series Lead. Unaired Pilot
2021 Them: Covenant Henry Emory Series Lead [10]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Result
2008 MOBO Award for 'Best Video' – Kidulthood to Adulthood[11] Nominated
Urban Music Award for 'Best Video' – Black Boys[12] Nominated
Urban Music Award for 'Most Inspirational Artist'[13] Won
Screen Nation Award for 'Best Music Performance in Film/TV'[14] Won
2009 MOBO Award for 'Best Album' – Catch Me If You Can[11] Nominated
MOBO Award for 'Best UK Act' –[12] Nominated
Urban Music Award for Best Hip Hop Nominated
Official Mixtape Awards for 'Best Hip Hop Mixtape' – Nominated
Official Mixtape Awards for 'Best Mixtape of the Decade' – The Chupa Chups Mixtape Nominated
Official Mixtape Awards for 'Best Mixtape 2009' – Nominated
UK Music Video Awards for 'Best Budget Video – Pop, Dance, Urban' – Ransom Nominated
2012 Screen International UK Stars of Tomorrow 2012 Won


  1. ^ "Making music matter". Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  2. ^ "Adulthood". 20 June 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Catch Me If You Can: BASHY". 15 June 2009. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Schools – Teachers – Off By Heart Shakespeare". BBC. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  5. ^ Larushka Ivan-Zadeh (30 August 2012). "Cockneys v Zombies' unlikely mash-up proves a winning formula". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  6. ^ Wollaston, Sam (11 December 2011). "TV review: Black Mirror; Piers Morgan's Life Stories: Peter Andre; This is Justin Bieber". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  7. ^ Petski, Denise (11 March 2016). "James Gandolfini's Passion Project 'Criminal Justice' Gets Summer Premiere On HBO As 'The Night Of'". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  8. ^ Petski, Denise (10 March 2016). "'24: Legacy': Ashley Thomas Set As Lead In Fox Reboot".
  9. ^ Petski, Denise (12 February 2018). "'Salvation': Melia Kreiling & Ashley Thomas Cast As Regulars In Season 2". Deadline. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (27 July 2019). "'Them': Deborah Ayorinde & Ashley Thomas To Star In Amazon Anthology Series From Lena Waithe".
  11. ^ a b "Dizzee Rascal, Jay-Z and Estelle lead MOBO nominations | News". 11 September 2008. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  12. ^ a b "Interviews With Bashy, Sway, Tinchy Stryder, Skeelo & Richard Blackwood". Archived from the original on 28 March 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "~* 7th Screen Nation Awards 2010 *~". Archived from the original on 27 July 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2011.

External links[edit]