Meet the cast of Channel 4 school drama Ackley Bridge

Ackley Bridge is back for a second series – with some familiar faces

Paul Nicholls plays Steve Bell

Paul Nicholls plays Steve Bell in Ackley Bridge

Who is Steve Bell in Ackley Bridge? Mandy’s husband, and a PE teacher at Ackley Bridge. The two are now living apart but really missing each other.


Where have I seen Paul Nicholls before? The actor is best known for his roles as Joe Wicks in EastEnders and as DS Sam Casey in ITV’s Law & Order: UK. Since saying goodbye to those shows he has appeared in Grantchester, The C Word, Death in Paradise, and In The Club.

Kimberly Walsh plays Claire Butterworth

Kimberly Walsh plays Claire Butterworth in Ackley Bridge

Who is Claire Butterworth in Ackley Bridge? Steve’s “feisty” ex, and the mother of their son Zak. In series two she’ll ruffle some feathers when she turns up unannounced at Ackley Bridge.

Where have I seen Kimberly Walsh before? Best known as a member of the girl group Girls Aloud after appearing on talent show Popstars: The Rivals, Walsh has turned to acting and presenting over the last few years.

She’s appeared in Shrek the Musical, and was a runner-up in Strictly Come Dancing. On screen she has appeared in The Lodge and St Trinian’s.

Adil Ray plays Sadiq Nawaz plays 

Sadiq Nawaz plays Adil Ray in Ackley Bridge

Who is Sadiq Nawaz in Ackley Bridge? Wealthy businessman and school sponsor Sadiq has a daughter at Ackley Bridge, Alya, and is a “local lad done well”. In series one he had a brief affair with headmistress Mandy, something which his daughter found out and exposed to the whole school in the series finale. “He survived it and he’s back again for series two,” Ray says. “There is some tension with Mandy as we’ll see.”

Where have I seen Adil Ray before? You’re most likely to remember Adil Ray from his BBC1 comedy Citizen Khan, which he created and co-writes. He’s also a prolific radio presenter.

Tony Jayawardena plays Rashid Hyatt

Rashid Hyatt as Tony Jayawardena in Ackley Bridge

Who is Rashid Hyatt in Ackley Bridge? Science teacher Mr Hyatt is a newcomer to the school in series two. He is an inspiring and capable teacher but is a bit socially awkward.

Where have I seen Tony Jayawardena before? You may have seen him on stage in Bend It Like Beckham the Musical, or in Shakespeare plays including The Tempest, Twelfth Night, and All’s Well That Ends Well. On TV he’s played Sandy in The Windsors and Lawrence Taylor in The Tunnel.

Maariah Hussain plays Alya Nawaz

Safiyah Mardiyah plays Sadiq's daughter Aneesa Sahota in Ackley Bridge

Who is Alya in Ackley Bridge? Sadiq’s daughter. At the moment she’s pretty angry at her father, and can be very spiteful to other pupils.

Where have I seen Maariah Hussain before? This is her first screen role.


Ackley Bridge returned to Channel 4 on Tuesday 5th June and will air every Tuesday at 8pm