Paradox: Chike Okonkwo plays DC Callum Gada

DC Callum Gada is a rookie detective who joins DI Rebecca Flint’s unit determined to prove his worth. However, when faced with trying to alter the course of people’s destinies it pushes his religious beliefs to the limit and he struggles to cope with the life changing decisions in his power. Actor Chike Okonkwo, who recently filmed Blood And Oil for BBC Two, explains why he wanted the role so badly.

How did you become involved in Paradox?

I was doing a play in Suffolk called Fixer when I got the call from my agent about Paradox. I was given a breakdown about the character and I thought the premise sounded amazing so I couldn’t wait to read the scripts and, when I did, I loved them.

I really fell in love with Callum and the show from the very beginning and I remember emailing my agent’s assistant to say how excited I was. Parts like this don’t come up very often and it’s a credit to Lizzie Mickery that she’s created such a gripping drama with such interesting and individual characters to boot.

How would you describe Callum?

Callum is a very considered guy. He, more than the others in the team, thinks about the implications of what they’re doing, and isn’t afraid to say so.

His religious beliefs colour a lot of his decision making throughout the series, which eventually see him take a rather dark and very difficult journey.

The series raises a lot of questions about whether or not the future should be changed. How do you feel about this?

I’m a lover of life and life throws up good things and bad things. I wouldn’t change anything in my life and,if I could change the future, I wouldn’t. I’d like to carry on trying to experience as much as I can. If you could change the future you’d always try to make it ‘good’ but making things ‘good’ doesn’t always work out for the best.

What have been your highlights of filming Paradox?

I’m a very active guy so I’ve loved the action involved. It’s been great running around the centre of Manchester trying to stop things from happening and I’ve loved doing all of the fast driving, too. It’s also been great to be part of such a lovely cast and crew. We’ve all gotten on brilliantly as a team – from the actors, our two directors all the way through the crew and production staff.

Tamzin has obviously got a lot of TV experience and it’s been really nice learning from her every day. I’d also seen Mark Bonnar on stage a few times so it’s great to have the opportunity to work with him and Emun is a complete natural. We all got on really well and spent a lot of our downtime together, too.

What have you worked on before Paradox?

I used to be in BBC One’s New Tricks, which has gone on to be a huge success. So much so that, even though it was six years ago for me, people are still very generous in their opinions about the show. I even got recognised in the Amazon Rainforest by a couple who enjoyed the show when I was travelling earlier this year. Recently I’ve done a lot of theatre and last year I worked on a great job in South Africa.

I was filming a drama called Blood And Oil for BBC Two, which is due to transmit soon. It’s about the oil conflict in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. My family are from Nigeria so it was a real privilege to look more closely at that side of my heritage. I did a lot of research into the human rights violations in the Delta, and it really was one of those jobs that taught me so much. I was able to portray a character that has a real story to tell. It’s very different to Paradox but I’m extremely proud of them both.

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