It is mid-November and almost four weeks into the five-week shoot of his debut feature, actor-writer-director Noel Clarke is a man in his element.

He is shooting on the west London streets where he grew up and today's council flat location is 250m from the gym where he was working when a television director recruited him into the acting world.

Although Clarke describes directing Adulthood as having come about partly by accident, he has a strong desire to tell this personal story of urban life in London.

'Technically I'm a statistic - council estate, single parent. I should be in jail or dead or whatever, but I'm not, I'm making films. Why is it the guy that grew up with me is in jail' It's the choices you make. You can't choose the cards you're dealt but you can choose how you play them.'

Adulthood is the sequel to Menhaj Huda's Kidulthood (2006), also written by Clarke. In the sequel, Kidulthood's villain, played by Clarke, is the story's penitent hero, returning from his prison sentence for murder to a hostile reception in the outside world, where he must decide whether or not to return to his violent ways.

Kidulthood won both praise and condemnation for its raw portrayal of teenage existence (especially among 'hoodies') in contemporary London. It also developed a significant fanbase among the age group it portrays, which led Cipher Films producer George Isaac and Clarke to discuss a sequel. Pathe came on board as UK distributor early in 2007 and support from the UK Film Council's New Cinema Fund followed, while producer Damian Jones - who also produced Kidulthood - tied up financing and brought in sales company Independent.

At this point, the project's backers started to float the idea of Clarke as director. Although he describes his first reaction to the suggestion as 'wary', Clarke decided it was an unmissable opportunity. Jones is pleased he did: 'He has such a confidence and an ability about him that no-one questioned it.'

And Isaac suggests Clarke has shown a real talent for directing actors - and when he is directing himself as an actor, he has had valuable advice from his veteran DoP Brian Tufano.

Clarke has starred in high-profile UK television series. In addition to his feature scripts, he has written for the BBC's Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood, and is writing the scripts for a Kudos-produced BBC series W10 LDN, starring himself, Ashley Walters and Adulthood's Adam Deacon - with Huda directing.

As for the future, Clarke says: 'I want to do all three jobs as much as I can. But I don't want to direct everything.'

He has two feature scripts in development, with Isaac and Jones also involved, and emphasises that none will cover the same terrain as Adulthood. 'One's UK set and is a drama thriller, the other is American-set. I've also got a really commercial thing. I like to do things that are going to ask questions; that are socially relevant.'