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Ackley Bridge season 5: release date, cast, plot, trailer and everything we know

Ackley Bridge season 5 sees Rob James-Collier as Martin Evershed
Ackley Bridge season 5 sees Rob James-Collier as Martin Evershed (Image credit: Channel 4)

Ackley Bridge season 5 sees the gates open once more for the latest series of Channel 4's popular drama and life at the multicultural secondary school in Yorkshire is more chaotic than ever! Here’s everything we know so far…

Ackley Bridge season 5 release date

The new 10-part series starts on Channel 4 on Monday July 11, airing each night as double-bills in the later time slot of 10pm. There's not a US release date currently.

Ackley Bridge: Which cast members are returning for the new term?

Rob James-Collier is back as headteacher Martin Evershed, with Charlie Hardwick as Director of Behaviour Sue Carp, and George Potts as the Valley Trust’s Ken Weaver. Ackley Bridge just wouldn’t be the same without dinner lady-turned-student counsellor Kaneez Paracha, played to perfection by Sunetra Sarker. Benidorm star Laila Zaidi joins as new English teacher, Asma Farooqi. 

Laila Zaidi as new English teacher, Asma Farooqi.

Benidorm star Laila Zaidi joins as new English teacher, Asma Farooqi, who it seems has something to hide... (Image credit: Channel 4)

As for the students, Johnny (Ryan Dean), his sister Queenie (Jasmine Payne), Fizza (Yasmin Al-Khudhairi), Kayla (Robyn Cara) and Marina (Megan Morgan) are back. But it seems they’re more interested in certain ‘extra-curricular activities...

Johnny, Queenie, Kayla and Fizza

School's IN: Students Johnny, Queenie, Kayla and Fizza are making waves at Ackley. (Image credit: Channel 4)

What’s the plot?

As the new series of Ackley Bridge begins, it seems head teacher Martin Evershed has something of a thorn in his side, as Rob James-Collier explains…

"When Ken from the Valley Trust visits the school, he sees Martin’s new protégé, Asma, getting arrested! He’s concerned with how Martin is running things, so moves into Martin’s office to keep an eye on him. We also see more of Martin’s home-life this series…”

Meanwhile, Kaneez is given the job of teaching sex education. 

“First of all, forget that it’s Kaneez; no adult wants that job — ever,” reveals Sunetra Sarker. “It was important we stayed true to who Kaneez is — a straight-talking woman who knows very little about ‘sexual relations’. So she’s trying to be professional when the kids are asking questions but her answers are ridiculous. I was so nervous acting that scene, because Kaneez is in such foreign territory.”

Later, Kaneez is tasked with taming new pupil Kyle, Marina and Kayla’s younger brother, played by Adam Little. Will they both learn from the experience?

Elsewhere, student Johnny gets closer to Kayla, who is then given some bombshell news, and Marina explores the dark side of social media.

Sunetra Sarker as Kaneez Paracha

It seems school counsellor Kaneez is given various positions of responsibility this series. Will she rise to the challenge? (Image credit: Channel 4)

Ackley Bridge: Is there new talent behind the camera?

There is indeed. This series sees actor Ashley Walters (Top Boy) make his TV directorial debut as he helms the first five episodes.

"As an actor’s director, Ashley has empathy," reveals Rob. “Every time he gave a note during filming, it was insightful and said in a collaborative, non-patronising way. It was a pleasure to be directed by him.”

Ashley Walters directs five episodes of Ackley Bridge

Top Boy actor Ashley Walters directs five episodes of Ackley Bridge. (Image credit: Channel 4)

Is there a trailer for Ackley Bridge season 5?

You bet there is! Here's a teaser below:

Victoria Wilson
Victoria Wilson

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 WhatToWatch.com, 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!