Skip to main content

Ex-'EastEnders' star Danny Hatchard on 'Ridley Road': 'Lee is lost'

Danny Hatchard as driver Lee (front centre) in 'Ridley Road', leading the neo-Nazi thugs in 1960s London.
Danny Hatchard as driver Lee (front centre) in 'Ridley Road', leading the neo-Nazi thugs in 1960s London. (Image credit: BBC/Red Productions/Ben Blackall)

Danny Hatchard is best known for playing Lee Carter in EastEnders and Private Rhett ‘Cheese’ Charlton in the last series of Our Girl

Now Danny is taking on the role of a Fascist thug in new four-part BBC1 drama Ridley Road, which begins on Sunday Oct. 3 at 9pm, with all the episodes streaming on BBCiPlayer from that date, too. It will be shown in America on PBS in due course so we'll update on the US release date as soon as we hear.

The drama is set on Ridley Road in East London in the early 1960s, at a time when support for fanatical Fascist leader Colin Jordan, played by Rory Kinnear, ran high. He headed up the National Socialist Movement (NSM) which was on the rise and calling for the removal of Jews from Britain. 

Ridley Road follows Vivien Epstein (Agnes O’Casey) a Jewish girl from Manchester who follows her boyfriend Jack (Tom Varey) to London and finds herself getting drawn into the Jewish resistance organisation, The 62 Group, alongside her uncle Soly Malinovsky (Eddie Marsan). 

Danny Hatchard plays Lee, who is Colin Jordan’s driver and is passionately loyal to the NSM and vows to protect its leader, no matter what. Here, Danny reveals more about his character Lee and his thoughts on BBC1’s Ridley Road

Ridley Road, starring Danny Hatchard, shows 1960s Fascism on the streets of London..

'Ridley Road', starring Danny Hatchard, will show 1960s Fascism on the streets of London. (Image credit: BBC)

Danny Hatchard on his 'Ridley Road' character Lee…

Danny Hatchard says: “Lee is lost, misguided, mis-educated and a product of his hardship. He and his wife go through a lot of financial hardship and it's quite topical to now. Generally, a lot of working-class individuals that are mis-educated and misguided are a product of a lot of far-right media propaganda. 

"Although they didn’t have social media in the 1960s, you found that in the newspapers, pamphlets, and leaflets published by movements like the NSM. My character is definitely quite a contrast to those I’ve played prior to this. As an actor it’s always nice to be able to stick your teeth into something completely different.”

Danny Hatchard as Lee, caught up in a 1960s Fascist group.

Danny Hatchard as Ridley Road's Lee, caught up in a 1960s Fascist group meeting, and here sitting with Jack (Tom Varey). (Image credit: BBC/Red Productions/Ben Blackall)

Danny on the 1960s setting for 'Ridley Road'…

Danny says: “I discovered that although the decades are completely different, the then and now are perhaps, not so different, sadly. Racism is still rife. In terms of London in the 1960s, it’s way before my time but after doing some research and being quite a fan of the era and music; I would say it was colourful, romantic, traditional and the epicentre of style. Certainly, in the mid to late 1960s.”

See more

Danny on why 'Ridley Road' is such an important story to tell….

Danny says: “It’s still a very current topic and I think it is important that we educate people about what really happened in the 1960s. Not a lot of people of my generation know, that even post World War Two in the Sixties that neo-Nazism was still a thing. In terms of relevance now, it’s very topical.”

Danny Hatchard plays the driver of Fascist leader Colin, played by Rory Kinnear.

Danny Hatchard plays the driver of Fascist leader Colin Jordan (above), played by Rory Kinnear. (Image credit: BBC)

Lee (Danny Hatchard) with Jack (Tom Varey).

Lee (Danny Hatchard) with Jack (Tom Varey) in 'Ridley Road'. (Image credit: BBC/Red Productions/Ben Blackall)

Danny on acting opposite his 'Ridley Road' co-star Eddie Marsan….

Danny says: “I’ve always been a huge fan of Eddie Marsan, he’s from my neck of the woods and I’ve always followed his career. It was an honour to work with him. Meeting Eddie was a highlight for me but generally, it’s always nice to come on set and work hard with a lot of like-minded people. All of the cast and crew, we all want this to be the production it deserves to be. It’s nice to come on set and feel that passion and really work towards making sure this is a wonderful, finished product. That’s definitely one of the best things about this job.” 

Eddie Marsan (on left) as Uncle Sol, with Vivienne and Jack, in Ridley Road.

Danny Hatchard was delighted to star alongside Eddie Marsan (on left) as Sol Malinovsky, here with Agnes O'Casey (Vivien) and Danny Myers (Ronnie) in 'Ridley Road'. (Image credit: BBC)

Danny on what he hopes the viewers will take away from watching Ridley Road…

“It’s a very educational piece and I think it’s important for people to watch,” says Danny. “I think it’s really important to learn about different eras, because it prevents us from going backwards. I think there’s a real danger of us doing that as a society. I hope this show sparks a conversation more than anything. I feel that after watching it, the right questions will be asked, and the right questions will be answered. Hopefully, it will deter certain people from a certain way of thinking and encourage people to educate themselves properly.”

Ridley Road star Danny Hatchard played Lee Carter in EastEnders.

'Ridley Road' star Danny Hatchard played Lee Carter in 'EastEnders'. (Image credit: BBC)