Ackley Bridge – C4

Robert James Collier in Ackley Bridge
(Image credit: MATT SQUIRE)

A favourite returns with some new faces...

As Ackley Bridge opens its doors for a new term, there are some new faces among the teaching staff.

Former Coronation Street and Downton Abbey star Robert James-Collier (pictured above) joins as new deputy head teacher Martin Evershed alongside Charlie Hardwick – best known as Emmerdale’s Val Pollard – as ‘director of behaviour’ Sue Carp.

Head teacher Mandy Carter (Jo Joyner) has had to sign the school over to The Valley Trust to save it, and Martin and Sue have been brought in to whip the pupils into shape.

Or so she thinks…

Stay tuned right to the end of the episode for a shock incident that sets the tone for the rest of the series.

TV Times asked Robert, 42, and Charlie, 58, to tell us more…

Robert, can you describe Martin?

Martin’s passionate about teaching English but he’s not so passionate about the bureaucracy, admin and politics that comes with it.

He doesn’t care about rules and procedures; he’ll do unorthodox things like play classical music full blast with the blinds down and lights off to get the kids dancing.

I wouldn’t say he’s a maverick in that he’s trying to undermine the system or anything. He just wants to do things his way because he knows that’s the best way to reach the kids.

Collier and Charlie Hardwick in Ackley Bridge

New Deputy Head Martin Evershed and Director of Behaviour Sue Carp

And, Charlie, what’s Sue like?

Sue’s horrible!

She’s beleaguered, disillusioned, feels she’s worthless and won’t be able to retire until she’s 67.

She doesn’t do anything that requires much energy.

Sue’s also a casual racist.

She’ll say something awful and then add, ‘No offence’.

If viewers don’t like Sue and are quite horrified at her attitude, that’s fine by me!

TV Times rating: ****

Victoria Wilson
Feature Writer for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and

With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!