Ridley Road, BBC One's new historical thriller adapted from Jo Bloom’s acclaimed novel of the same name, has begun production.
Aggi O’Casey has been cast for the lead role of Vivien Epstein, a young Jewish woman who, after falling in love with a member of the 62 Group, abandons the comfort of her middle-class life in Manchester to join the struggle against fascism in London.
The 62 Group were a real coalition of Jewish men who took a stand against the rising neo-Nazism in post-war Britain.
Eddie Marsan will play the part of Soly Malinovsky, the leader of the anti-fascist organisation.
While working for the Group, Vivien realises that her missing boyfriend Jack, played by Tom Varey, has been severely injured.
Vivien manages to infiltrate the NSM, a neo-Nazi movement gaining momentum in London led by the imposing activist Colin Jordan (Rory Kinnear). As Vivien descends further into fascism, her courage and loyalties are challenged.
O’Casey 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.”
Other cast members include Tracy-Ann Oberman as Soly’s wife Nancy, Samantha Spiro as Vivien’s mother Liza Epstein, Tamzin Outhwaite as Barbara Watson, the owner of the hair salon where Vivien works, Rita Tushingham as Vivien’s landlady Nettie Jones, and Danny Hatchard as Colin Jordan’s driver Lee.
Writer of the series, Sarah Solemani, added: “A young hairdresser from Manchester makes an unlikely hero in this little known slice of British history. But in these unprecedented times, it is the unlikely heroes whose stories are now worth telling.
“Britain's relationship with fascism is closer and more alive than we like to think. Fortunately, so too is our rich heritage of beating it.”