Why did Jimmy Akingbola leave Kate and Koji?

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Kate and Koji is back on ITV tonight (March 16) and the sitcom stars Brenda Blethyn as cafe owner Kate. In the first season of the TV hit, she befriended asylum seeker Koji, who was originally played by Jimmy Akingbola. The role has been picked up by Okorie Chukwu for the second season and Express.co.uk has all you need to know about why.

Why did Jimmy Akingbola leave Kate and Koji?

The six-episode second season is about to kick off with the first episode titled Lockdown Legends.

While most of the main cast will be making a comeback, Jimmy Akingbola had no choice but to say goodbye to his character, Koji.

Jimmy was forced to exit the series due to a filming schedule clash with Peacock’s The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air reboot.

In Bel-Air, which first launched in February 2022, he plays the notorious Geoffrey.

Back when the first season launched he shared his thoughts on working alongside Blethyn.

He told assignmentx.com: “Oh, it’s so good. Brenda is funny.

“I don’t laugh on set that much at all, but she would make me corpse all the time.

“She’s a pro, she’s very generous, she’s done a lot of theater like myself, she’s very playful, and very open to trying new things.

“We became like best mates.”

He described the whole cast as feeling like a family and must have been heartbroken about leaving the series.

The second season of Kate and Koji was delayed, with filming due to start in January 2021.

Sadly, due to the coronavirus pandemic, production was pushed back.

The covid-related delays led to a clash in Jimmy’s filming schedule with the French Prince reboot.

Blethyn praised the new actor for taking on the role part-way through the series.

She told Radio Times: “Okorie is great, we all just love him.

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“He has a vulnerability about him which is so endearing, and he’s great to work with.

“I think it’s great for Jimmy. We didn’t start as we should have done this time last year, you know, these things happen.

“He was offered a wonderful job in America, and he took it – good luck to him!”

Jimmy is on Instagram and he has been promoting the new Bel-Air series, telling fans “things are heating up”.

The star spoke to Augustman about his portrayal of Geoffrey in the show.

He said: “My Geoffrey is very different because he is not a Butler, he is a House Manager and much more.

“He comes from East London and has much more swagger and edge than the original Geoffrey.

“His relationship with Phillip is also different. They are basically like brothers.

“Geoffrey is his right-hand man, and they go way back.

“Basically, if the original Geoffrey was more like Roger Moore’s James Bond, then our version is more like Daniel Craig’s Bond.”

Kate and Koji airs on Wednesdays at 9pm.

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