Ashley Walters (Top Boy, Bulletproof) will make his directing debut
Award-winning Ackley Bridge will return to Channel 4 and All4 for a fifth series in 2022, with 10x30 new episodes commissioned from The Forge.
Ackley’s back for more high-jinx plans, scams, and mad-cap adventures in school and on the estate. We’ll pick up with our trio – Johnny (Ryan Dean - The Gentleman, Penny on M.A.R.S.), Kayla (Robyn Cara -Life, Hounslow Diaries) and Fizza (Yasmin Al Khudhairi - Hilda) - as they try to navigate the second half of the school year. Elsewhere, life gets complicated for Marina (Megan Morgan - Hollyoaks), Kayla’s popular Queen Bee sister, just as her younger brother Kyle (Adam Little – Years and Years), Ackley’s newest pupil and troublemaker, turns up at school, fresh out of juvie. It’s been a year already jam-packed with love triangles, catfishing, compulsive liars and one utterly joyous (albeit failed) gypsy wedding. But it’s not over until the last school bell rings and there’s still plenty of time before the sun breaks on the summer holidays…
And for the adults, life is just as chaotic. Martin (Rob James Collier – Downton Abbey) finds his role as Head under the spotlight as Ken (George Potts - Brassic) - true to form – continues to be a raging pain in the proverbial. Things get trickier still for Martin when Asma (Laila Zaidi – Benidorm, Holby City), Ackley’s new hotshot teacher joins the staff to immediately ruffle some feathers. Kaneez (Sunetra Sarker – Informer, The Bay) is back at the beating heart of the school and is presented with her biggest challenge yet, in the form of new boy Kyle. Sue (Charlie Hardwick - Emmerdale) does her best to impress Ken which could lead to a change in career.
Rebecca Holdsworth, Channel 4 Commissioning Editor said: “I’m thrilled to be revisiting Ackley Bridge to see what is in store for our pupils and teachers. Series 5 promises the same trademark mix of funny, heartfelt and hard-hitting stories.”
George Ormond, Executive Producer, The Forge, added: “We’re delighted to be back for another series in our rowdy school and our left-behind town. It’s been a lot of fun coming up with series 5 and we can’t wait to share it.”
Ackley Bridge series five will be produced by The Forge and will film in Halifax from November 2021. Executive Producers are George Ormond (National Treasure, Kiri), George Faber (Help, National Treasure, Shameless) with lead writers and Executive Producers Suhayla El Bushra (Hollyoaks, Becoming Elizabeth) and Kim Revill (Eastenders, Holby City). The new series is also written by Damian Mullen (River City, Holby City), Alexander Stewart (Tin Star, The Last Kingdom) and Emteaz Hussain (The Break, Blood). Jade Taylor is the Producer and Ashley Walters (Top Boy, Bulletproof) will make his directing debut for 5 episodes and Reza Moradi (Teachers, Hetty Feather) will direct the other 5 episodes. For Channel 4, Commissioning Editor is Rebecca Holdsworth. All3media International are handling international distribution.
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About The Forge
The Forge is an independent drama production company specialising in original, innovative and high-quality TV drama, working in collaboration with the UK’s leading and emerging creative talent.
Along with ACKLEY BRIDGE, production credits include Jack Thorne’s multi-BAFTA-winning trilogy NATIONAL TREASURE, KIRI and THE ACCIDENT (C4/HULU) and recent drama HELP (C4); Peter Moffat’s THE LAST POST (BBC1/AMAZON); John Brownlow’s adaptation of Jessie Burton’s THE MINIATURIST (BBC1/WGBH); Levi David Addai’s DARK MONEY (BBC1) and David Hare’s COLLATERAL (BBC2/NETFLIX) and political thriller ROADKILL (BBC1/MASTERPIECE).
The Forge are currently in production with BECOMING ELIZABETH an 8-part original series for STARZ, written by Anya Reiss, RULES OF THE GAME (BBC1), a 4-part thriller, written by Ruth Fowler and MARRIAGE (BBC1), a 4-part drama from writer-director Stefan Golaszewski.