'Ridley Road' stars and viewers spot 'chilling' relevance of BBC drama

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 10:00:01 on 12/09/2021 - Programme Name: Ridley Road - TX: n/a - Episode: Generics (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Colin Jordan (RORY KINNEAR), Vivien Epstein (AGNES O'CASEY), Jack Morris (TOM VAREY) - (C) Red Productions - Photographer: Ben Blackall
Ridley Road was sobering viewing for many. (Red Productions/Ben Blackall)

BBC drama Ridley Road has prompted its stars and viewers to point out the "chilling" echoes of its fascism storyline in current events.

Tracey-Ann Oberman plays Nancy Malinovsky in the series, which tells the true story of the 62 Group, a coalition from the Jewish community fighting neo-Nazis during the 60s.

She called on viewers to help in the fight against anti-semitism and thanked her co-star Eddie Marsan for being an ally.

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She tweeted: "Thank you for all lovely words on #RidleyRoad@BBCOne Many of you know I’ve spent recent years fighting antisemites on both the Far Left- FarRight. My family fought fascist Jew haters in #CableStreet 1936 in 1943 & in ‘62. This project is my heart. My activism & acting merged as one."

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 28/09/2021 - Programme Name: Ridley Road - TX: n/a - Episode: Generics (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Nancy Malinovsky (TRACY-ANN OBERMAN) - (C) Red Productions - Photographer: Ben Blackall
Tracy-Ann Oberman called the series 'my heart'. (Red Productions/Ben Blackall)

Oberman added: "If you watched #RidleyRoad and were horrified by the Jew Hate of Colin Jordan sadly it didn’t stop In 1962. Be vigilant and fight it. @eddiemarsan show you don’t have to be Jewish to be an ally."

Marsan, who plays Oberman's husband Soly, said he was "grateful" for the chance to tackle racism.

He tweeted: "Thanks for the kind words about #RidleyRoad. I’m genuinely grateful to @Solemani for giving me this opportunity to stand up to racism creatively. And thank you to my Jewish colleagues @TracyAnnO, Alan Corduner & Sam Spiro for your generosity & support in helping me play Soly."

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 28/09/2021 - Programme Name: Ridley Road - TX: n/a - Episode: 1 (No. 1) - Picture Shows:  Soly Malinovsky (EDDIE MARSAN) - (C) Red Productions - Photographer: Ben Blackall
Eddie Marsan was praised for being an ally. (Red Productions/Ben Blackall)

The series follows Vivien (Agnes O'Casey), a young Jewish hairdresser who abandons her wedding in search of her first love Jack (Tom Varey) and is surprised to find him fighting neo-Nazism by infiltrating the movement and working from the inside.

But after an incident that sees Jack go missing, Vivien begins working undercover herself as part of the 62 Group.

Viewers of Ridley Road were also struck by the similarities to modern-day issues, calling it "chilling".

Programme Name: Ridley Road - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Colin Jordan (RORY KINNEAR), Vivien Epstein (AGNES O'CASEY) - (C) Red Productions - Photographer: Ben Blackall
Ridley Road sees Agnes O'Casey's character infiltrate a neo-Nazi group to fight fascism. (Red Productions/Ben Blackall)

One viewer tweeted: "Excellent drama #RidleyRoad on @BBCOne tonight about the rise of fascism in London in the 1960s. Poignant use of language when the fascists talk about “taking back control”. Sends shivers… and rightly so."

Someone else added: "#RidleyRoad on @BBC1 is excellent but chilling. Important viewing, especially now when antisemitism is on the rise again."

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Another person wrote: "Excellent start for #RidleyRoad. Hard to watch though, mainly because it feels very relevant."

Ridley Road's four-part series continues on Sundays at 9pm on BBC One.

Watch: See the trailer for BBC One's Ridley Road