New drama Ridley Road, written and adapted for television by award-winning writer Sarah Solemani (Barry, Aphrodite Fry), from the critically acclaimed novel by Jo Bloom, has been commissioned for BBC One.
The 4×60-minute drama will be produced by RED Production Company (a STUDIOCANAL company) and BAFTA-award-winning executive producer Nicola Shindler (Years and Years, Happy Valley, Trust Me, Safe).
Ridley Road is a thriller set against the backdrop of a swinging sixties London we haven’t seen: an East End world where far right fascism is on the rise. When Vivien Epstein follows her lover into danger and he is caught between life and death, Vivienne finds herself going undercover with the fascists, not only for him but for the sake of her country.
While writing Ridley Road, writer Sarah Solemani undertook extensive research into the period, she said: “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. I am thrilled to be working with RED and the BBC to bring this little-known slice of British history to the screen.”
Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama said: “Sarah’s brilliant scripts tell a unique story of doomed love and undercover espionage against a backdrop of a fascist uprising in 1960s London. This story couldn’t feel more timely and we are hugely indebted Sarah for bringing this story to life in her own style.”
Nicola Shindler, executive producer and Chief Executive of RED Production Company, said: “It’s hugely exciting to adapt this story into a drama. I loved the book, and Sarah’s script has brilliantly captured the passionate love story coupled with the social tensions amid the rise of fascism and the vivid wonderment of the swinging sixties. While it’s set during a relatively unknown part of British history, Ridley Road echoes what is happening today with the growing rhetoric against people of a different race or nationality, and it feels like a really timely drama to bring to audiences.”
Ridley Road is a RED Production Company production commissioned for BBC One by Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama. The 4×60-minute drama adaption is written, and executive produced by Sarah Solemani, with Nicola Shindler as Executive Producer for RED Production Company and Lucy Richer for BBC. Series producer is Betsan Morris Evans (The War of the Worlds, The City and the City, Endeavour).
Casting will be announced in due course.
Writer Sarah Solemani (Barry, The Secret, Urban Myths) won a Writers Guild America Award for her work on HBO’s Barry and is also known for her roles in the BAFTA award-wining series Him & Her, No Offence and Bridget Jones’ Baby. In the US she is currently writing an original comedy drama with Sarah Jessica Parker’s company Pretty Matches Productions.
Manchester based RED Production Company are renowned for continually producing compelling, ground-breaking and boundary-pushing drama for over 20 years, including Happy Valley, Butterfly, Safe, Cucumber, Clocking Off, Queer As Folk, Scott & Bailey and the recent hit Years and Years, which is currently airing on BBC One. RED is led by executive producer Nicola Shindler, who recently received the 2019 BAFTA Special Award, which recognised her services to television.