Channel 4’s 8pm school drama Ackley Bridge is back for 8 brand new episodes.
Catch up on everything you need to know about the series ahead of season 3, including details on where the show is filmed.
What is Ackley Bridge?
Ackley Bridge explores modern Britain with irreverence, wit, close to the knuckle humour, larger than life characters and big hearted stories.
Set in an academy situated in the racially divided (fictional) Yorkshire town of Ackley Bridge, the series explores the ups and downs of friendships, family life and relationships of both the teachers and pupils of the college.
As Ackley’s Year 13 pupils enter their final year they all face questions about their future. Nas (Amy-Leigh Hickman) interviews for a place at Oxford University with her best mate Missy (Poppy Lee Friar) joining her for a hilarious road trip out of Yorkshire. However, once Nas overcomes her nerves and insecurities, Oxford starts looking like a reality and it soon becomes apparent that her life is heading in a different direction to best friend Missy’s. Will our best friends be blown apart?
Kaneez (Sunetra Sarker) has to decide whether to take things to the next level with Rashid (Tony Jayawardena) when he proposes and also meets tough challenges in inimitable Kaneez style when she starts to climb the career ladder and becomes a Student Support Officer.
The school is now part of a large multi-academy trust. Mandy (Jo Joyner) has a new nightmare boss Ken (George Potts) who has dumped a load of unmanageable kids from the trust’s other schools on to her. At least Mandy has gained Ken’s new trusted A-team of senior staff but she soon learns to her horror that they’re not an A-team at all… but rejects Ken’s trying to get rid of.
New hot-headed Deputy Head Martin (Robert James-Collier) locks horns with Sam Murgatroyd’s formidable mum just released from prison and new Year 10 bad girl Rukhsana (Phoebe Tuffs-Berry) runs rings around Sue (Charlie Hardwick), the disenchanted and distinctly un PC newly appointed Director of Behaviour whose sharp tongue rubs teachers and pupils alike up the wrong way.
Cory’s (Sam Retford) promiscuity lands him in hot water – at home, at school and with best mate Naveed (Gurjeet Singh). Sam Murgatroyd (Megan Parkinson) is made up when her mum gets out of prison only to find that she’s encouraging her into criminal behaviour and Alya (Maariah Hussain) and Riz (Nohail Mohammed) discover devastating news about their father Sadiq (Adil Ray).
Who is in the cast?
Jo Joyner, Sunetra Sarker, Liz White, Adil Ray, Poppy Lee-Friar, Tony Jayawardena and Amy Leigh-Hickman return for series three and are joined by Charlie Hardwick, Phoebe Tuffs-Berry and Rob James-Collier.
James-Collier plays new hot-headed deputy head Martin, while Hardwick is cast as the disenchanted and un PC Director of Behaviour. Tuffs-Berry is a new Year 10 bad girl Rukhsana, who is running rings around the school.
Where is Ackley Bridge filmed?
Ackley Bridge is set in a fictional Yorkshire Mill town and centres around the merging of schools which brings a clash cultures.
Halifax is the main filming location for the show, but Calderdale, Leeds and Hebden Bridge were also used.
The school used for the series was formerly St Catherine’s Catholic High School on Holdsworth Road in Halifax which closed in 2013.
Pupils from local schools and colleges including Trinity Academy, North Halifax Grammar School, Crossley Heath School and Calderdale College appear in the show.
Director Penny Woolcock told the Huddersfield Examiner: “I think it’s so important to have dramas that reflect the fact that most people live in provincial towns far away from the metropolis.
“All the kids you see are from local schools. Kids even popped up in the art and costume departments.”
She added: “Everyone was very welcoming. We didn’t have any aggro whatsoever, it was remarkable. I think it’s partly because we did the groundwork, we didn’t just show up. We went round and spoke to people and explained what was going on. And we'd get local people involved – for example, the street that Missy and Nas live on, a lot of the extras are the people who live on that street.
That really changes how people feel about filming.”
Ackley Bridge exec producer George Ormond said: "We’re so pleased that we found our home for Ackley Bridge in Yorkshire. We searched for our school across the whole of the north of England, and Halifax provided not just the school building, but a fantastic hub for production. It has allowed us to bring our fictional world to life with veracity and punch, it looks great on screen, and we've enjoyed real collaboration with schools, youth groups, businesses and organisations from the surrounding area in putting it together."
Actor Adil Ray said: I’ve really loved Halifax this time around. It was freezing in the winter but when the sun’s been out it’s been lovely!” he said.
“I’ve managed to have a day off here and there and have a little wander round. I’ve been to fantastic places like The Piece Hall and Square Chapel Arts Centre.
“I went to university just down the road in Huddersfield, so it is a place that is really quite close to my heart. I’m so glad to be back here.”
The Halifax Courier has reported that the cast were spotted filming scenes for series 2 in the Halifax Borough Market.
The show’s characters were unusually accompanied by two alpacas for the scenes.
Season 3, episode 3 preview:
Kaneez is stunned when Rashid proposes. Mandy teams up with Kaneez to try to convince Asian parents to support her school, but they come up against a group who threaten them. Meanwhile Naveed has a party while his parents are away.
Ackley Bridge season 3 airs on Channel 4 on Tuesdays at 8pm.
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