Robert James-Collier (Downton Abbey) and Charlie Hardwick (Emmerdale) are joining the teaching staff at Ackley Bridge College and are bound to ruffle some feathers.
With the school being taken over by The Valley Trust it’s a new era with deputy head teacher Martin Evershed (Robert James-Collier) and director of behaviour Sue Carp (Charlie Hardwick) being brought in to whip the pupils into shape. Mandy (Jo Joyner) just about remains at the helm of the school and is once again joined by returning cast members Sunetra Sarker, Poppy Lee-Friar and Amy Leigh-Hickman. Series 3 of the Channel 4 8pm drama has begun filming in Halifax and will return to screens for 8x60 new episodes later this year.
RTS Yorkshire Award winning Ackley Bridge was created by Ayub Khan Din (East is East), Kevin Erlis (Shameless) and Malcolm Campbell (Shameless, What Richard Did). The series will be directed by Penny Woolcock (Tina Goes Shopping, Mischief Night, The Death of Klinghoffer, 1 Day), Sarmad Masud (My Pure Land, Hollyoaks), Rachna Suri (Snatches, Our Lad) and Dominic Leclerc (Babs, The A Word, From Darkness). Executive Producers are George Ormond (National Treasure, Kiri, Great Expectations), George Faber (National Treasure, Shameless, Skins), Alexander Lamb (EastEnders, Waterloo Road), Ayub Khan Din (East is East) and Hugo Heppell on behalf of Screen Yorkshire with Jo Johnson (Casualty, EastEnders) serving as Producer.
Robert James-Collier says, ““I am thrilled to be asked to play the part of Martin Evershed, the new Deputy Head At Ackley Bridge. Such fearless and talented young actors bring a special spirit and energy on set and I hope I can learn from that and add to it in my own way.”
Charlie Hardwick commented, “I'm absolutely over the moon to be joining Ackley Bridge, I was already a fan. It has fantastic characters and brilliantly sharp story-telling which tackles the desires and concerns of a diverse school of young people and their community head on, in full-beam. It's funny and moving in equal measures and has a huge heart. Unlike the new director of behaviour Sue Carp. She is belligerent and unwilling, and instead of dedicating her time to the well-being and development of her teenage students, she appears to be solely concerned with counting down the next ten years to her retirement. She is unwittingly witty though, and somewhat unintentionally anarchic, which gets the school into deep doodoo and herself into dangerously sackable situations. I can't wait to play her! “
The Channel 4 Drama Commissioning Editor for series 3 is Manpreet Dosanjh. It is produced by The Forge in association with Screen Yorkshire.