After a summer of activism and protests that has us all thinking back to the revolutionary 1960s, drama fans will soon have a new show to revisit that iconic decade. MASTERPIECEannounced this week that it is starting production on Ridley Road, a four-part miniseries adapted from the 2014 novel of the same name by Jo Bloom.
The GBH Drama Club loves a good political thriller, especially when the story is told by and about women: Ridley Road is being adapted for the screen by writer Sarah Solemani and will star newcomer Aggi O’Casey in her television debut.
Set in 1962, Ridley Road tells the story of Vivien Epstein, a young Jewish woman who goes undercover in an underground fascist organization. It’s inspired by the true story of the ‘62 Group,’ a coalition of Jewish men formed to stand up to rising fascism in post-war Europe. Vivien falls in love with a member of the group and joins the struggle, going undercover to infiltrate the NSM, a neo-Nazi movement.
“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,” O’Casey said about the role.
Solemani says the story feels more relevant now than ever: “Britain’s relationship with fascism is closer and more alive than we like to think,” she said. “Luckily, so is our rich heritage of fighting it. Jo Bloom’s gripping book revealed a darker side of 60s London and the staggering contribution the Jewish community made in the battle against racism.”
The cast is full of familiar British faces, including Tom Varey (Game of Thrones), Rory Kinnear (No Time to Die, The Imitation Game), and Eddie Marsan (Ray Donovan, Little Dorrit.)
Rebecca Eaton, Executive Producer-at-Large for MASTERPIECE, believes the series provides important context for the present: “We are especially proud to partner with Nicola Shindler at RED and with BBC One on Ridley Road," she said. "A compelling story of love and resistance is as important now as it ever was in the turbulent 1960s. A well-told drama illuminates past and present as little else can.”
Stay tuned and connect with GBH Drama Club for more information and future airdates for this series.