Drew has also had a successful film career as an actor, with roles in Adulthood (2008), Harry Brown (2009) and 18.104.22.168 (2010). In 2011, he will release Ill Manors his first film as a director.
Born and brought up in Forest Gate, East London, Plan B's mother, Georgie Atherton, worked and his father (Paul Ballance) played in a local classical band. When Ben was two, his father walked out on the family leaving behind two children. Growing up, Plan B felt an outcast from the rest of the school pupils. 
"We weren't working class but we
weren't middle class, we were in the void in-between. I've always
felt like a social outcast."
From 11, Plan B attended Anglo European School in Ingatestone, Essex and after leaving at 15, he was transferred to Tom Hood School, a specialist Science College in Leytonstone, London and left with three GCSEs. Plan B taught himself how to play guitar at 14, first playing Blur and Oasis with friends, then going on to write his own R&B love songs. At 18, feeling uncomfortable with R&B, he turned towards rap and hip hop music and wrote "Kidz", inspired by the murder of Damilola Taylor.
"The whole reason for calling myself
Plan B was that I was doing this sweet-boy Justin Timberlake [stuff],
but I never felt comfortable... When I started rapping, it was
easier for me to feel comfortable."
 Music career
P, produced by DJ Wonder (Roll Deep), on the grime compilation album Run the Road (2005). Also in 2005, he released his first single, ("Kidz"/"Dead and Buried") as a limited edition 7" vinyl on his own label Pet Cemetery Records. He soon gained a recording contract with 679 Recordings and released his second double A-side single "No Good"/"Sick 2 Def" with his début music video filmed for "No Good".
In early 2006, Plan B released a video-only download single for "Missing Links", which had to be re-recorded because he did not gain sample permission from Radiohead for the use of "Pyramid Song", and also released his first mixtape It's Time 4 Plan B in the May 2006 issue of Hip Hop Connection magazine. On 23 June 2006 Plan B made his first television appearance on Later... with Jools Holland performing an acoustic version of "Mama (Loves a Crackhead)". His début album Who Needs Actions When You Got Words, recorded with producers such as Paul Epworth, Fraser T. Smith and The Earlies, was released 26 June 2006 and charted the following week at No. 30 on the UK Albums Chart. The album gained positive reviews from most critics, including a five-star review from The Guardian's Alex Petridis.
In July 2006, "Mama (Loves a Crackhead)" was released as a single which became the first Plan B song to appear on the UK Singles Chart peaking at No. 41. In 2006, Paul Epworth and Plan B collaborated again on the track “More Is Enough” by Epic Man (Paul Epworth). After touring throughout 2006 and playing at festivals such as Reading and Leeds, a music video was filmed for "No More Eatin'" and Plan B released Live at The Pet Cemetery EP on 30 October 2006 (with a new version of "No More Eatin'" and two b-sides). On 11 December 2006 he released Remixes EP (which included the Hadouken! remix of "No More Eatin'").
During his January–February 2007 tour (which included
support from Professor Green, Example, Killa Kela and Hadouken!),
Plan B released his second mixtape Paint It Blacker containing
bootleg recordings of songs by artists such as The Rolling Stones,
Nirvana, Radiohead, Coldplay, Leonard Cohen and José González with
producers Sem, Beni G from The Mixologists and Analog Kid. In
2007, Plan B re-released his song “No Good” with new remixes and
a music video was filmed for the b-side “Bizness Woman” (featuring
beatboxer Kila Kella). Also in 2007, Plan B featured on songs by
other artists such as Professor Green, Killa Kela, Skrein, Shameless
and The Mitchell Brothers.
With a supporting role in the film Adulthood (2008), Plan B recorded three songs for the film’s soundtrack – “End in the Streets”, “On It 08” with Adam Deacon and “I Need Love” featuring Jacob Anderson. Plan B also featured on the Chase & Status single “Pieces”, which topped the UK Dance Chart in 2008 and reached No. 70 on the singles chart.
In 2009, Plan B recorded “Shifty” with Riz MC and Sway. The single was taken from the soundtrack to Eran Creevy’s film Shifty (2009) starring Riz Ahmed (Riz MC) and Daniel Mays. Also in 2009, Plan B played Noel Winters in Harry Brown and achieved his first Top 10 hit with “End Credits”, another collaboration with Chase & Status which was used in the soundtrack for Harry Brown.
In late 2009, Plan B announced news of the release of his second album and film The Defamation of Strickland Banks to be released in 2010. The lead single from the album, “Stay Too Long”, was released in January 2010, and reached No. 9 in the UK Singles Chart.
He supported Noel Gallagher at the second night of his solo gigs at The Royal Albert Hall on 26 March 2010, and played in Bangor at the Radio 1 Big Weekend on 23 May 2010 on the New Music We Trust stage.
After the success of his latest concept soul album, The Defamation of Strickland Banks, the record company made it clear that they were no longer interested in him creating the music he originally set out to make. In fact, the company announced that they were “over the moon” when he decided to launch the record independently. “I was offended but I said, ‘Alright, cool’. This is the compromise – I take that hip-hop record, I put it out on my own label and you own none of it,” Plan B told BBC Newsbeat. “I’ll promote it off the back of my soul record and that’s what I’m doing.”
The new album, called The Ballad of Belmarsh, is a hip-hop laden “series of events” that depicts the story of Plan B’s alter-ego, Strickland Banks. He has said that he recognizes the fact that the upcoming hip-hop album will probably not have the same appeal or be as successful as his previous soul album, which has sold over 500,000 copies, which he is OK with. “I know The Ballad of Belmarsh is not going to work commercially, I know radio ain’t going to play it but I’m still going to put it out there because I love it. It’s a piece of art,” he said. “It’s probably going to sell about 100,000 copies – no more. But I’m cool with that.”
He performed a duet of "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" with Elton John as part of Elton's BBC Electric Proms performance at The Roundhouse in London in October 2010.
While occupying himself with the launch of his
new album, Plan B has also begun working on his full arena UK tour,
which will take place in March 2011. The next single from The Defamation
of Strickland Banks is "Love Goes Down". Official music video featuring Andy Crane, Paul Young, Abbey M Butler, Vicky
McClure and Kaya Scodelario had its own premiere on 16 November
On Soccer AM on 9 January 2010, Drew confirmed that he strongly believes his follow-up CD will be a reggae album, and he will commit to it. 
In an interview with Contactmusic,  B stated that he may do a reggae album in the future, but it was also entirely possible he would do a Dubstep album.
Earlier on in the very same interview, he confirmed he has not quit hip-hop music, as the Strickland Banks soul album is just a one-off, and that there will be a couple more hip hop albums in the near future. "Just straight forward Plan B hip hop that you're used to, we have a couple of them coming out before I decide to do that." said Drew.
He followed that up by saying "I wanna get the Strickland Banks campaign out the way; I want to shoot a short film around it, so the videos and that go together as a sort of musical feature film. I want to then release The Ballad Of Belmarsh [his follow-up hip hop record] and then I want to shoot my film, my directorial début, Ill Manors and that's also music-based, a musical again. It will be the reverse of Strickland Banks, so the film will come out first and the soundtrack will come out after that, so I've got a busy year ahead of me doing all that. Then 2011 I guess I'll start work on something new".
He has been cited by head and founder of Acid
Jazz Records Eddie Piller as one of the figureheads of New Mod
mixing hip-hop and soul music.
Plan B, earlier in his music career, also expressed an interest in working in film. In an interview about Who Needs Actions When You Got Words, he said: "We’re still promoting this album and I’ve started work on the next one, but I’m really getting into film at the moment. I’m writing this script, and I really want to find some time to focus on it, I really feel that’s what I’m destined to be doing”.
After previously appearing in Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s short film Walking After Acconci (Redirected Approaches) in 2005, Ben Drew’s first major film role was as a supporting character (Dabs) in Noel Clarke’s Adulthood (2008). His song “Kidz” was previously included in the soundtrack to Kidulthood (2006) which led to Drew being cast in the sequel. In 2008, Ben Drew also directed his first short film Michelle which starred Adam Deacon and Skrein and he also directed the music video for “Pieces” (his collaboration with Chase & Status).
In 2009, Drew had another supporting role as Noel Winters in the Daniel Barber film Harry Brown starring Michael Caine. In 2010, Ben Drew appeared in Noel Clarke's film 22.214.171.124 and began production on his musical film The Defamation of Strickland Banks and his first full-length feature film Ill Manors.
Speaking in March 2010 to noted UK soul-writer
Pete Lewis – Deputy Editor of the award-winning Blues & Soul – Drew expanded on his first full-length feature film 'Ill Manors': "It's a hip hop, music-based feature film which has six short stories that all
kinda mix together to make one BIG story – and each mini-story
will be represented by a different hip hop track. It'll all be
narrated by me, and it'll actually be the reverse of 'The Defamation
Of Strickland Banks' – in that with 'Ill Manors', the film will
come out first and the soundtrack will come afterwards. And again
the soundtrack will be a film for the blind, in that you'll be
able to listen to it and it'll tell you the story of the film." Made appearance at Elton John's Electric Proms show as a guest of honour.
Elton introduced Plan B's album as "the best of the year" and said he'd probably be playing it for another 3 years.
* Who Needs Actions When You Got Words (2006)
Year Film Role Director(s) Notes
Short films and music videos
Year Film Role Director(s) Notes
Kemet & Maat
: before Judaism, Christianity and Islam