Skip to main content

Ridley Road: Everything you need to know about BBC and PBS Masterpiece’s new thriller

Aggi O'Casey as Vivien Epstein in the BBC and PBS drama "Ridley Road."
Aggi O'Casey as Vivien Epstein in the BBC and PBS drama "Ridley Road." (Image credit: BBC/Red Productions/Ben Blackall)

Ridley Road explores a relatively unknown chapter of London history. Based on the debut novel of the same name by Jo Bloom, it tells the fictional story of young Jewish woman Vivien Epstein — played by TV newcomer Aggi O’Casey — facing prejudice in London’s swinging sixties.

The four-part series promises to be full of twists, turns, and shocking revelations about 1960s London. For more plot reveals read on.

Ridley Road is described by BBC as ...

“Inspired by the struggle of the 62 Group, a coalition of Jewish men and women who stood up against rising neo-Nazism in post-war Britain 

“Ridley Road is a thriller set against the backdrop of a swinging sixties London we haven’t seen: an East End world where far right fascism is on the rise.  

“Vivien finds herself going undercover with the fascists, not only for [her lover] but for the sake of her country.”

Meet the stars in Ridley Road

From Hollywood stars to newcomers, Ridley Road, boosts an interesting cast...

The full cast announcement to date includes:

  • Eddie Marsan (21 Grams, Vera Drake, V for Vendetta)
  • Tamzin Outhwaite (EastEnders, New Tricks, Doctor Who)
  • Rory Kinnear (Black Mirror, Penny Dreadful, Skyfall)
  • Rita Tushingham (Doctor Zhivago, Bread, In the Flesh)
  • Tracy Ann Oberman (Big Train, EastEnders, After Life)
  • Samantha Spiro (From Hell, Grandma’s House, Sex Education)
  • Tom Varey (The Village, Game of Thrones, No Offence)
  • Danny Hatchard (EastEnders, Our Girl)
  • Hannah Traylen (Call the Midwife, Harlots)
  • Danny Sykes (Bulletproof)
  • Aggi O’Casey in her television debut as Vivien Epstein

Who’s who in Ridley Road

Vivien Epstein (Aggi O’Casey) 

Young Jewish woman Vivien rejects her comfortable middle-class life in Manchester when she falls in love with Jack, a member of the 62 Group. When Jack goes missing her life takes a dangerous turn. 

Hairdresser Vivien is working with the 62 Group in London when she discovers Jack has been badly injured. She infiltrates neo-Nazi movement, the NSM, as it gains tracton and popularity in the city. Soon her sense of self, loyalties and resolve are tested, as she risks everything for the man she loves.

Newcomer Aggi O'Casey leads the stellar cast of BBC's Ridley Road

Newcomer Aggi O'Casey leads the stellar cast of BBC's "Ridley Road." (Image credit: Lorna Fitzsimons)

“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.”

Aggi O'Casey

Jack Morris (Tom Varey)

When Jack mysteriously disappears his lover Vivien desperately searches for him, only to make a shocking discovery that sets her on a life-changing path.

“I’m so proud to be working on such a powerful, beautiful, important story. The scripts are amazing, and I’m excited to be in the company of actors that I have looked up to and admired for so long.”

Tom Varey

Colin Jordan (Rory Kinnear)

Formidable leader of neo-Nazi movement NSM, Colin is menacing presence in Ridley Road. Fond of making fanatical speeches he’s an intimidating bigot who incites racist attacks and violent riots.

“Sarah’s scripts had me hooked and to work with so many interesting characters is something that was hugely appealing.”

Rory Kinnear

Soly Malinovsky (Eddie Marsan)

Described as a “hot headed, sharp-witted cab driver”, Soly Malinovsky is leader of anti-fascist organisation 62 Group. 

“I'm honoured to be playing the role of Soly, the leader of the '62' Group of Jewish anti-fascists who took on the National Socialist Movement in Ridley Road. Now, more than ever we need to hear the stories of how normal men and women put their lives on the line to stamp out this cancer.”

Eddie Marsan

Barbara Watson (Tamzin Outhwaite)

Barbara is Vivien’s boss at a London-based hair salon and experiences racism first-hand being hurled at her mixed-race son.

Nettie Jones (Rita Tushingham)

Vivien’s London landlady, Nettie mourns the loss of her three sons in World War Two and becomes increasingly afraid of the changing world around her.

Nancy Malinovsky (Tracy-Ann Oberman)

Soly’s wife Nancy is described as “a smooth operator who plays a crucial role in the 62 Group operations."

Liza Epstein (Samantha Spiro)

Liza’s life is turned upside down when she discovers her late husband was involved in the underground movement… Can she protect daughter Vivien?

Lee (Danny Hatchard)

Colin Jordan’s driver Lee believes the NSM is like a family to him. But when the chips are down will his loyalty to Colin be reciprocated?

Ridley Road filming and air date

Filming is currently underway in Manchester. BBC has stated that four 60-minute episodes are expected to air in 2021.

Check back for updates.