John Boyega is a proud Peckham boy.
The Star Wars actor, whose parents are Nigerian immigrants, grew up on a council estate in what was then a very deprived south London district. One of his friends was Damilola Taylor – the ten-year-old Nigerian boy who was stabbed to death on his way home in 2000. But despite that tragedy, Boyega remembers a happy youth. His parents adored him and he joined a performance arts programme, Theatre Peckham, that gave him broad horizons. “I had a fantastic childhood,” he told Ben Hoyle in The Times. “I was exposed to a world of dance, tap, musical theatre. I performed at the Royal Albert Hall when I was 13.” Now, at 25, he’s an A-list star, thanks to his role in the Star Wars franchise. But he still lives in south London, where he shares a flat with a friend and frequents the local shop – Khan’s Bargain on Rye Lane. They stock “my favourite childhood sweets. They’re like 39p; you get three for £1. When I’m back home and I’m hanging out with my friends, we hang out the way we always hang out. And I’m gonna need sweets.” Not long ago, Harrison Ford, Boyega’s former co-star, dropped into the area and asked Boyega to take him somewhere local to eat. They went to 805, a Nigerian restaurant on Old Kent Road. “Loads of people came around him and he was chill. At his level of stardom, it’s nice to see that example.”