Robert James-Collier & Charlie Hardwick Join Channel 4’s ‘Ackley Bridge’

Channel 4 is adding to the cast of Ackley Bridge. Robert James-Collier (Downton Abbey) and Charlie Hardwick (Emmerdale) have joined the cast of the high school drama for its upcoming third season, which is now filming in Halifax.

James-Collier will play new Deputy Head Teacher Martin Evershed, while Hardwick has been cast as Director of Behaviour Sue Carp. The duo are brought into the school after it has been taken over by The Valley Trust. They join returning cast members Jo Joyner, Sunetra Sarker, Poppy Lee-Friar and Amy Leigh-Hickman

“I am thrilled to be asked to play the part of Martin Evershed, the new Deputy Head At Ackley Bridge”, Robert James-Collier said in a statement. “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.”

Ackley Bridge is set in a Yorkshire mill town which is home to largely divided white and Asian populations. Like the communities, the school systems have also become segregated. However as two formerly isolated comprehensives are merged into a brand new academy, Ackley Bridge College, the lives and cultures of each are set to collide. The drama series was created by Ayub Khan Din, Kevin Erlis, and Malcolm Campbell and is produced by The Forge. The executive producers are George Ormond, George Faber, Alexander Lamb, Ayub Khan Din and Hugo Heppell. The directors are Penny Woolcock, Sarmad Masud, Rachna Suri and Dominic Leclerc.

“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”, Charlie Hardwick added. “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!”