New Four-Part Spy Drama Premieres on MASTERPIECE in May
Read what critics had to say about the series below:
“It’s a drama with resonance. It has the right story to tell—alas—in our current dark age.” – The Guardian
“Ridley Road is an action thriller as well as a period piece, with chases, fights and romance to go with its political context.” – The Independent
“What makes Ridley Road a joy to watch is not only the stellar cast, but the storytelling,” adding, “It is beautifully crafted, weaving in archive footage, making it look as if Vivien is actually in Sixties London.” – The London Times
It’s the summer of 1962 and London is swinging with new music, hip fashions and an irresistible hedonistic spirit. It’s also seething with anti-Semitic violence incited by homegrown neo-Nazis. MASTERPIECE presents a riveting four-part drama set in this colorful but tumultuous time with Ridley Road, based on Jo Bloom’s acclaimed novel.
Inspired by true events, Ridley Road stars newcomer Agnes O’Casey as Vivien Epstein, a young Jewish hairdresser who fits right into London’s mod scene, while secretly infiltrating the British neo-Nazi hierarchy on behalf of Jewish antifascists.
O’Casey is joined by Rory Kinnear (No Time to Die) as Colin Jordan, the real-life leader of Britain’s post-World War II Nazi movement; Tom Varey (Game of Thrones) as Jack, Vivien’s true love, who mysteriously disappears at the outset of the series; Eddie Marsan (Little Dorrit) as Vivien’s cagey uncle Soly, a secret operative for the 62 Group, which is combatting the resurgence of fascism; and Tracy-Ann Oberman (After Life) as Soly’s shrewd wife, Nancy.
Also appearing are Rita Tushingham (Doctor Zhivago) as Nettie, Vivien’s right-wing landlady; Tamzin Outhwaite (EastEnders) as Barbara, the gutsy manager at the Soho hairdressing salon where Vivien lands a job; and Gabriel Akuwudike (War of the Worlds) as Barbara’s son, Stevie, a leftist law student who gets the wrong idea about Vivien’s politics.
At the start of the series, politics is the last thing on Vivien’s mind when she flees a proposed arranged marriage in Manchester to find Jack, whom her parents deplore. Little does she know that Jack has been recruited by the 62 Group in London as a mole to infiltrate the National Socialist Movement, a fascist party promoting violent antisemitism and racism.
Before she knows it, Vivien is also recruited — with the mission of finding out what has happened to Jack. The assignment requires her to change her look, her name and her personality, becoming an apparent Nazi and passionate admirer of the movement’s charismatic leader, Jordan. She is far more successful than anyone dreamed possible, which pulls her deeper and deeper into a vicious lion’s den of intrigue.
Despite having no interest in politics initially, Vivien begins to realize she not only wants to save Jack… she also wants to save her country.
Ridley Road premieres Sunday, May 1, at 9pm on CET and ThinkTV16, the stations’ livestreams and the PBS Video App. The series will then continue every Sunday at 9pm until the season finale airs on May 22.