This September, filming resumes on the Channel 4 school drama Ackley Bridge and there will be some brand-new faces. Robyn Cara (Life, Hounslow Diaries) plays funny, mixed race pupil Kayla, torn between her white Mum’s family and her traditional Pakistani Dad’s family; her best friend Fizza, played by Yasmin Al Khudhairi (Hilda) is a fiercely intelligent, fist-in-the-air firebrand; and Ryan Dean (The Gentleman, Penny on M.A.R.S.) takes the role of Johnny, a cocky, good looking member of the traveller community who is deeply suspicious of school, and who catches the eye of both Kayla and Fizza.
Further new pupils including Marina, Kayla’s ‘mean girl’ sister, played by Carla Woodcock (Free Rein Pandora) and Tahir, played by Shobhit Piasa (Londonstani), the smooth talking billy-liar nephew of Kaneez, whose salesman’s patter hides a family secret. Conor McIntyre (Coronation Street) guest stars as Johnny’s Grandad.
They join the returning cast including Sunetra Sarker, Rob James Collier, Jo Joyner, Charlie Hardwick, Tony Jayawardena, Fern Deacon, Phoebe Tuffs-Berry, Cody Ryan, Nazmeen Kauser and Zara Salim.
This new series of Ackley will air as 10×30’ episodes, stripped across two weeks in an earlier evening slot in 2021. Ackley has been nominated for Drama Series at the 2020 RTS Awards and has won Best Drama, Best Actor, Best Director Fiction and Best Music and Use of Music at the RTS Yorkshire Awards.
Inspired by real-life Lancashire and Yorkshire schools established to integrate the white and Asian communities in some of the most divided towns in the country, Ackley Bridge has won praise across its previous three series for tackling real-life situations and issues in an irreverent, insightful way, with humour and punchy, big hearted stories.
Diversity has always been at the heart of what makes Ackley Bridge so special – both in terms of the people and communities we tell stories about, and the new and diverse writing and directing talent we are a home to. This year all five of our writers are from diverse backgrounds.
Ackley Bridge is available to stream via All4.