The first photos from the BBC’s upcoming adaptation of Ridley Road have been released.
From Downton Abbey executive producer Rebecca Eaton and the makers of Last Tango in Halifax, the show began filming in London last autumn.
The book has been adapted for television by writer and Bridget Jones’ Baby actress Sarah Solemani.
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.”
Newcomers Aggi O’Casey and Tom Varey are leading the cast.
O’Casey previously 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.”
Varey added: “I’m so proud to be working on such a powerful, beautiful, important story.”
They pair will be joined by familiar faces such as Rory Kinnear (Penny Dreadful), Tracy-Ann Oberman (It’s a Sin), Eddie Marsan (The Pact), Tamzin Outhwaite (EastEnders), 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.”
Executive producer Nicola Shindler (Happy Valley) said in 2019: “I loved the book, and Sarah’s script has brilliantly captured the passionate love story coupled with the social tensions amid the rise of fascism and the vivid wonderment of the swinging sixties.
“While it’s set during a relatively unknown part of British history, Ridley Road echoes what is happening today with the growing rhetoric against people of a different race or nationality, and it feels like a really timely drama to bring to audiences.”
Ridley Road will premiere later this year in the UK on BBC One and on PBS in the US.
Jo Bloom’s novel is available on Amazon.