The award-winning school drama series set in a Yorkshire mill town returns to Channel 4 with a brand-new format, some fresh faces, and some familiar favourite characters too. Robyn Cara (Life, Hounslow Diaries) plays Kayla – a funny, awkward, and loveable pupil who feels she doesn’t fit in either at school or at home. Kayla attempts to navigate both sides of her separated parents’ heritage – her White mum and Pakistani dad; her best friend Fizza, played by Yasmin Al-Khudhairi (Hilda) is a fiercely intelligent, fist-in-the-air firebrand whose sarcastic humour and tough-girl attitude mask a more vulnerable side, as she navigates the rocky relationship with her mum; and Ryan Dean (The Gentleman, Penny on M.A.R.S.) takes the role of new boy Johnny, a cheeky, confident charmer from a Romany Gypsy community whose cocky ‘front’ and initial distrust of school reveals a sensitive soul, as he catches the eye of both Kayla and Fizza.
Further new pupils including Marina, Kayla’s ‘mean girl’ sister, played by Carla Woodcock (Free Rein Pandora) and Tahir, played by Shobhit Piasa (Londonstani), the smooth-talking nephew of Kaneez who instantly falls in with Sam, but whose salesman patter hides a family secret. Connor McIntyre (Coronation Street) guest stars as Johnny’s Grandad.
They join the returning cast including Sunetra Sarker, Robert James-Collier, Jo Joyner, Charlie Hardwick, Tony Jayawardena, Fern Deacon, Phoebe Tuffs-Berry, Cody Ryan, Nazmeen Kauser and Zara Salim.
Ackley has been nominated for Drama Series at the 2020 RTS Awards and has won Best Drama, Best Actor, Best Director Fiction and Best Music and Use of Music at the RTS Yorkshire Awards.
Inspired by real-life Lancashire and Yorkshire schools established to integrate the White and Asian communities in some of the most divided towns in the country, Ackley Bridge has won praise across its previous three series for tackling real-life situations and issues in an irreverent, insightful way, with humour and punchy, big hearted stories.
Ackley Bridge series is produced by The Forge. Executive Producers are George Ormond (National Treasure, Kiri), George Faber (National Treasure, Shameless), Ayub Khan Din (East is East) and Caroline Cooper Charles for Screen Yorkshire, who are supporting the series. Rosalie Carew is the producer, and Joe Stephenson and Ethosheia Hylton direct. For Channel 4, Commissioning Executive is Rebecca Holdsworth. All3media International are handling international distribution.
Ackley Bridge airs nightly from Monday 19th April, 6pm, Channel 4, with all episodes available on All 4.