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Is The BBC’s Ridley Road Based On A True Story?

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Is The BBC’s Ridley Road Based On A True Story?

Ridley Road is the gripping new drama from the BBC which sheds light on a little-known part of sixties Britain.

After it came to a conclusion on Sunday night (24th October), fans now want to know if it was based on a true story.

What is Ridley Road about?

Ridley Road is a four-part thriller series set in London's East End during the swinging sixties; a world where far right fascism is on the rise.

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Vivien Epstein (Agnes O'Casey) is the protagonist of the series. She's a Jewish hairdresser from Manchester who runs away from her protective parents David (Will Keen) and Liza Epstein (Samantha Spiro) and her upcoming marriage, and heads to London in pursuit of her true love, Jack Morris (Tom Varey).

She follows Jack to his last known address on the iconic Ridley Road, but what she doesn't realise is she's followed him into grave danger. When she arrives, she is warned off by her uncle, the gruff Soly Malinovsky (Eddie Marsan) and Soly's wife Nancy (Tracy-Ann Oberman).

Determined to stay on in London, Vivien takes up lodgings with the very traditional Nettie Jones (Rita Tushingham) and finds a job at a trendy Soho hair salon run by Barbara (Tamzin Outhwaite). But her world is turned upside down when she discovers that Jack has gone missing while working undercover to infiltrate the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, led by Colin Jordan (Rory Kinnear).

With the backing of the anti-fascist 62 Group led by Soly and Nancy, Vivien decides to go undercover herself to discover what happened to Jack, risking her own life in the process.

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Is Ridley Road based on a true story?

The BBC has said that Ridley Road is based on a true story. The writer and executive producer of the series, Sarah Solemani, undertook extensive research into this period and the TV series was adapted from Jo Bloom's debut novel Ridley Road, which is based on real life events.

"Britain's relationship with fascism is closer and more alive than we like to think. Luckily, so is our rich heritage of fighting it. Jo Bloom's gripping book revealed a darker side of sixties London and the staggering contribution the Jewish community made in the battle against racism," said Solemani.

The four part series aired on BBC One between 3rd-24th October 2021. It's available to stream on BBC iPlayer if you missed it.

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: TV and Film, BBC, Thriller

Laura Sanders
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