BBC One has ordered Ridley Road, a four-part adaptation of Jo Bloom’s novel of the same name. Sarah Solemani (Barry, Aphrodite Fry) is penning the adaptation and has conducted extensive research for the project.
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, Vivien finds herself going undercover with the fascists, not only for him but for the sake of her country. Red Production Company are producing.
“Britain’s relationship with fascism is closer and more alive than we like to think. Luckily, so is our rich heritage of fighting it”, Solemani said in a statement. “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.”
“Sarah’s brilliant scripts tell a unique story of doomed love and undercover espionage against a backdrop of a fascist uprising in 1960s London”, commented the BBC’s Controller of Drama Piers Wenger, who commissioned the adaptation alongside the BBC’s Director of Content Charlotte Moore. “This story couldn’t feel more timely and we are hugely indebted Sarah for bringing this story to life in her own style.”
While Red’s Nicola Shindler, who serves as an executive producer alongside Sarah Solemani and Lucy Richer, added: “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.”