BBC reveals cast for romantic spy drama ‘Ridley Road’ set in 1960s London

The cast has been announced for the BBC’s adaptation of Ridley Road.

The four-part mini-series comes from the makers of Happy Valley and a producer of Endeavour.

Jo Bloom’s critically acclaimed novel has been adapted for TV by writer and actress Sarah Solemani (Him & HerBridget Jones’ Baby).

Ridley Road is described as “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.”

Leading the cast are newcomers Aggi O’Casey and Tom Varey.

Familiar faces will include Rory Kinnear (Skyfall), Tamzin Outhwaite (EastEnders), Tracy-Ann Oberman (EastEnders), Eddie Marsan (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell), Samantha Spiro (Game of Thrones), Danny Hatchard (EastEnders), and Rita Tushingham (Doctor Zhivago).

The official synopsis reads: “Ridley Road tells the story of a young Jewish woman, Vivien Epstein (Aggi O’Casey)…

“After falling in love with a member of the 62 Group, she rejects her comfortable middle-class life in Manchester and joins the fight against fascism in London, risking everything for her beliefs and for the man she loves.

“Inspired by the struggle of the 62 Group, a coalition of Jewish men who stood up against rising neo-Nazism in post-war Britain, Vivien is working with them when she realises that Jack, her missing boyfriend (Tom Varey) has been badly injured. Vivien infiltrates the NSM, a neo-Nazi movement which is becoming increasingly prominent in London. As Vivien descends further into the fascist organisation her courage and loyalties are challenged.”

Aggi O’Casey commented: “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 added: “I’m so proud to be working on such a powerful, beautiful, important story. The scripts are amazing, and I can’t wait to bring them to life. I’m excited to be in the company of actors that I have looked up to and admired for so long.”

Penny Dreadful star Rory Kinnear, who plays the leader of neo Nazi movement NSM, said: “When I received the scripts from Red Production Company, I was already looking forward to working with them again. Sarah’s scripts had me hooked and to work with so many interesting characters is something that was hugely appealing. I can’t wait to get started.”

Ridley Road is filming now in London.

Executive producer Rebecca Eaton (Downton Abbey) commented: “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.”

Ridley Road will premiere in 2021 in the UK on BBC One and on PBS in the US.

Jo Bloom’s novel is available on Amazon.