Ackley Bridge

Young adult TV goes mainstream

Sex Education (Credit: Netflix)

On the day before Netflix released the first series of Sex Education, Jamie Campbell, creative director of the producer, Eleven Film, recommen­ded the series to his friend’s 18-year-old daughter. As a high-school drama about the sexual misadventures of teenagers, Campbell assumed Sex Education would resonate with her. She agreed to call the next day to share her thoughts, but when she did, she said she hadn’t watched it.

Who’s who in Ackley Bridge?

Fan favourites Nas (Amy-Leigh Hickman) and Missy (Poppy Lee Friar) were among those who left at the end of the last series, but there are plenty of pupils joining the returning cast to fill the gaps.

Among the newcomers are Kayla Azfal (Robyn Cara) and Fizza Akhtar (Yasmin Al Khudhairi), loyal best friends but both lovestruck by new boy Johnny Cooper (Ryan Dean).

Given the two-year hiatus and all the new faces, we thought viewers new and old could do with a little refresher course. Find out who's who in Ackley Bridge.

Channel 4 reveals first look at new series of Ackley Bridge

The first of two images show best friends Kayla (Robyn Cara) and Fizza (Yasmin Al Khudhairi), new to viewers but existing pupils at Ackley Bridge, and Johnny (Ryan Dean), a new student and heartthrob.

Johnny catches the eye of both Kayla and Fizza but he’s suspicious of his new school.

The second shot shows teachers Kaneez Paracha (Sunetra Sarker), Sue Carp (Charlie Hardwick) and Hassain Hussein (Hareet Deol). They return alongside fellow teachers Martin Evershed (Rob James Collier), Mandy Carter (Jo Joyner) and Rashid Hyatt (Tony Jayawardena).

Filming resumes for a fourth series of Ackley Bridge

Yasmin Al Khudhairi, Robyn Cara and Ryan Dean (Credit: Channel 4)

The new ten-part series will see the addition of new character Kayla (Robyn Cara), a funny and vibrant mixed-race teenager who is facing an identity crisis, torn between her mum’s family who are white and her dad’s traditional Pakistani family.

Joining Kayla is her best friend Fizza (Yasmin Al Khudhairi), who is intelligent and politically active, plus the attractive but arrogant Johnny (Ryan Dean), a member of the travelling community who is sceptical of school and catches the attention of Kayla and Fizza.

Ackley Bridge set to return for a fourth series

Rob James-Collier, Jo Joyner and Sunetra Sarker (Credit: Channel 4)

Instead of 60-minute weekly episodes, the new ten-part series will now be 30 minutes.

Ackley Bridge was inspired by real-life Lancashire and Yorkshire schools, which had been set up to help integrate white and Asian communities in some of the most divided towns in the country.

The RTS award-winning series has been praised for tackling real-life issues with intelligence and sensitivity, creating hard-hitting and thought-provoking stories.

RTS Yorkshire announce nominations for 2019 Awards

Steve (Jack Dee) and Nicky (Kerry Godliman) in Bad Move (Credit: ITV)

Just under 100 industry professionals gathered at Prime’s new events space, Archive, to discover whether their work had made it on to the awards shortlist. Larry and Paul, a comedy act who have built up a strong local following on BBC Radio Leeds, hosted the launch.

Nominations for the 18 awards categories reflected the healthy level of production in the Yorkshire region. The hotly contested factual awards earned multiple nominations for Daisybeck Studios, Air TV, True North and True Vision Yorkshire.

Robert James-Collier and Charlie Hardwick join Ackley Bridge

Robert James-Collier and Charlie Hardwick (Credit: Channel 4)

Having recently been taken over by the Valley Trust, new deputy head teacher Martin Evershed (Robert James-Collier) and director of behaviour Sue Carp (Charlie Hardwick) are called in to put the school to rights.

Ackley Bridge’s upcoming third season will also see Jo Joyner return as headteacher Mandy Carter, along with Poppy Lee Friar and Amy-Leigh Hickman who play school friends Missy and Nasreen.

 “I am thrilled to be asked to play the part of Martin Evershed, the new Deputy Head at Ackley Bridge,” said Robert James-Collier on his new role.