Drama

BBC One announces new series from Steve McQueen

The films will explore the events surrounding the New Cross Fire in January 1981, which killed 13 black teenagers, the Black People’s Day of Action in the aftermath of the fire in March, which saw more than 20,000 people join the first organised protest by black British people, and the Brixton riots that followed in April.

Steve McQueen and James Rogan will both executive produce and direct the series, revealing how these three events intertwined and defined race relations for a generation.

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).

Channel 5’s drive for drama

There must be something in the water at Channel 5. In 2020, it won Channel of the Year at both the RTS Programme Awards and the Broadcast Awards. The RTS’s judges remarked that it was “a confident broadcaster reaping the rewards of years of steady growth and development – a channel that increasingly now both surprises and delights”.

That momentum careered into 2021, as The Drowning – the four-parter about a mother who befriends a child she believes is her missing son – became its most-watched drama to date. A record 5.1 million tuned in for the first episode.

Comedy drama Ramy heads to Channel 4

Ramy Youssef (Mr Robot) stars as the eponymous millennial Egyptian American caught between the two cultures of his politically divided New Jersey neighbourhood.

At once morally tested by his Muslim community and freed from consequence by his generation, Ramy explores the realities of first-generation Muslim immigrants in modern America juggling work, dating and faith.

Stephen Graham and Jodie Comer to star in new Channel 4 drama Help

From RTS Award-winning writer Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials), Help tells the moving story of a young worker in a fictional Liverpool care home, Sarah (Comer), and her patient Tony (Graham), whose lives are torn apart by the coronavirus pandemic.

Graham said: “Jack is one of the greatest and most truthful writers of our generation and in Help he has crafted a profoundly important piece of social realism.

ITV commissions new drama Riches

Riches follows the life and business of the wealthy Richards family, with father Stephen Richards at the helm of a multi-million pound cosmetics empire.

After 20 years of success, Stephen’s reaping the rewards of his business acumen. In his eyes, “no one who knows anything about black women and their commitment to looking good would think there’s anything high risk about my ambitions.”

ITV commissions new drama No Return starring Sheridan Smith

(credit: Andy hughes)

The four-part series has been written by RTS-Award winning writer Danny Brocklehurst (Brassic).

No Return follows Kathy (Smith) and Martin who are enjoying a blissful holiday in Turkey with their son Noah and younger daughter Jess. Unbeknownst to the family, a horrific ordeal is about to tear their worlds apart.

Writer Gwyneth Hughes unmasks the reality of so-called honour violence in new ITV drama

It was almost 15 years ago that writer Hughes saw Banaz Mahmod’s face in the newspaper, a victim of a so-called honour killing.

In 2006, Mahmod was raped and murdered in a plot initiated by her own father and uncle, for falling in love with a man her family hadn’t chosen, following a divorce from her violent husband 10 years her senior.

For Hughes, after watching the documentary Banaz: A Love Story, she knew she needed to turn the story into a drama.