EastEnders stars Tamzin Outhwaite and Danny Hatchard join BBC1 drama Ridley Road

Tamzin Outhwaite on her early ’Enders years: I felt proud leaving with my sanity still intact

New BBC One drama Ridley Road has some very familiar faces amongst the cast...

It was announced last year that Jo Bloom’s novel Ridley Road would be adapted for television, and now BBC1 has confirmed that filming has kicked off with a fantastic cast.

And part of that cast are three faces that will be very familiar to EastEnders fans.

Tamzin Outhwaite, best known for playing Walford's Mel Owen since 1998, joins Ridley Road as salon owner Barbara Watson.

Tamzin Outhwaite

Tamzin Outhwaite will take on a new role as hairdresser Barbara (Picture: BBC) (Image credit: John Wright / Amarang.com)

Another former Albert Square regular, Danny Hatchard, has also joined the cast.

Danny played the son of Mick and Linda Carter (Danny Dyer and Kellie Bright) Lee, on EastEnders.

He will now be playing a driver called Lee in his new role.

More: Honour ITV - air date, cast and trailer for the Keeley Hawes true crime drama 

The third former EastEnders star to appear in Ridley Road is Tracy-Ann Oberman.

Tracy-Ann, who played Chrissie Watts in EastEnders, will play smooth-talking Nancy.

Danny Hatchard

Danny Hatchard has swapped Albert Square for Ridley Road (Picture: BBC)

What is the story of Ridley Road? 

Ridley Road will tell the story of a young Jewish woman, Vivien Epstein played by Aggi O’Casey.

After falling in love with a member of the ‘62 Group’ - a group of Jewish men who stood up against rising neo-Nazism in post-war Britain - Vivian leaves Manchester to join the fight against fascism in London.

Each the four, 60 minute episodes, will see how Vivien copes after risking everything for her beliefs and the man she loves.

More: How to watch The Great British Bake Off online anywhere in the world 

When Vivian's boyfriend, Jack, played by Tom Varey, turns up badly injured, Vivien infiltrates the NSM, a neo-Nazi movement.

As Vivien descends further into the fascist organisation her courage is challenged.

Tracy-Ann Oberman

Tracy-Ann Oberman has joined the cast of Ridley Road (Picture: BBC) (Image credit: Wolf Marloh)

The cast of Ridley Road

Other cast include Rory Kinnear, Eddie Marsan, Samantha Spiro and Rita Tushingham.

Speaking of her new role, Aggi O’Casey said: "Sarah Solemani has blown me away with the detail in which she has written Vivien.

"I can’t wait to bring this vital story to life."

When talking about playing Jack, Tom Varey said: "I’m so proud to be working on such a powerful, beautiful, important story, the scripts are amazing."

Eddie Marsan, who will be familiar to TV fans for his role in US crime series, Ray Donovan, has been cast as hot headed cab driver Soly Malinovsky.

Eddie said: "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."

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.