A new BBC drama based on Jo Bloom’s novel Ridley Road is on the way soon, telling the story of a young Jewish woman who goes undercover at a fascist organisation in ’60s London.
The series has been penned by Sarah Solemani, and boasts a stellar cast with the likes of Rory Kinnear (Years and Years) and Eddie Marsan (Ray Donovan) starring alongside newcomer Aggi O’Casey, who takes on the lead role.
The four-part drama went into production in September 2020, and we’ve now been treated to a first-look image of the series.
Read on for everything you need to know about Ridley Road.
When is Ridley Road released on BBC One?
Ridley Road was announced in August 2019. Production began in September 2020, although it’s not yet known when the four-part drama will air.
RadioTimes.com predicts it will arrive at some point in 2021, but we’ll update this page when more official information becomes available.
What is Ridley Road about?
Based on Jo Bloom’s novel, the series inspired by the struggle of the ‘62 Group’, a coalition of Jewish men who stood up against rising neo-Nazism in post-war Britain.
Set in 1962, Ridley Road tells the story of a young Jewish woman named Vivien Epstein, who moves from Manchester to East London after the death of her father.
She attempts to track down Jack Morris, a man with whom she once had an intense love affair, but with little information to go on she is sadly unsuccessful – at least initially.
Vivien gets hired at a hair salon in Soho and soon becomes involved in London’s anti-fascist movement, infiltrating the NSM, a neo-Nazi movement which is becoming increasingly prominent in London.
As the BBC puts it, “Ridley Road is a thriller set against the backdrop of a swinging sixties London we haven’t seen: an East End world where far right fascism is on the rise. When Vivien Epstein follows her lover into danger and he is caught between life and death, Vivien finds herself going undercover with the fascists, not only for him but for the sake of her country.”
Solemani added: “Britain’s relationship with fascism is closer and more alive than we like to think. Luckily, so is our rich heritage of fighting it. Jo Bloom’s gripping book revealed a darker side of sixties London and the staggering contribution the Jewish community made in the battle against racism. I am thrilled to be working with Red [Production Company] and the BBC to bring this little-known slice of British history to the screen.”
Who is in the cast of Ridley Road?
Newcomer Aggi O’Casey is making her television debut as Vivien. Speaking about her casting, the actress said, “Sarah Solemani has blown me away with the detail, sensitivity, and complexity with which she has written Vivien. I can’t wait to bring this vital and little-known story to life”.
Tom Varey (Game of Thrones) plays Jack Morris, while other cast members include Rory Kinnear as Colin Jordan, leader of the NSM; and Eddie Marsan (Ray Donovan) as Soly Malinovsky, the leader of the 62 Group.
Further cast include Tracy-Ann Oberman (Friday Night Dinner), Samantha Spiro (Sex Education), and Tamzin Outhwaite (EastEnders).
Is there a trailer for Ridley Road?
We don’t have a trailer just yet, but we do have the next best thing: a first-look image.
The still shows Aggi O’Casey as Vivien Epstein, looking rather distressed as she lobs a battered suitcase from a rooftop, with a cross visible in the background.