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Ackley Bridge, Series 3, Channel 4 review - we gotta get out of this place | reviews, news & interviews

Ackley Bridge, Series 3, Channel 4 review - we gotta get out of this place

Ackley Bridge, Series 3, Channel 4 review - we gotta get out of this place

Education is a constant battleground in Yorkshire-set school drama

Nas (Amy-Leigh Hickman) and Missy (Poppy Lee Friar) go to Oxford

In the Yorkshire town of Ackley Bridge, education is like war conducted by other means. As series three of the drama begins on Channel 4, we see that everything has changed at Ackley Bridge school since Valley Trust took it over. Most of the staff have been sacked, leaving head teacher Mandy Carter (Jo Joyner) stuck with a last-chance-saloon bunch of under-motivated replacements.

With the exception of Deputy Head Mr Evershed, played by Downton’s Robert James-Collier suddenly looking a bit cool and groovy, the staff aren’t interested in engaging with the countless multicultural issues that come with the territory. Cynics call the school “Tandoori High”. According to new (although quite old) teacher Sue (Emmerdale’s Charlie Hardwick, pictured below with James-Collier), as more pupils with minimal grasp of English were squeezed onto the premises, “it’s practically a migrant camp.”

But it’s fertile soil for drama, and writer Richard Davidson infused some raw emotional interest into the narrative. The school’s big news is that Nasreen Paracha (Amy-Leigh Hickman) has been called for an interview for a place at Oxford University to study medicine. Her great friend Missy (Poppy Lee Friar) insisted on getting her nails done, wrapping herself in pink fur and going with her to provide moral support during her three-day sojourn among the dreaming spires, though when she got there Missy thought that Oxford resembled “Harrogate without the walking dead.”

Nas’s culture shock as she found herself rubbing shoulders with the entitled elite was nicely drawn. Overhearing one expensively educated young woman explaining how she was a heart surgeon’s daughter who had been allowed to watch heart operations, Nas was overcome with feelings of inferiority and outsider-dom. It took a bracing pep-talk from Missy to get her back in the saddle and ready to face her interview.

To her amazement it went well, and back at Ackley excitement mounted about Nas’s glittering prospects. It dawned on Missy that a turning point was approaching, and fate was about to drive them apart. Single-minded Nas was following her dream, while chaotic Missy, with her junkie mother dragging her down like a ball and chain, toyed with the idea of becoming a fortune teller (“Mystic Missy”) at the local funfair. However, a shocking development in the final scene threw everything up in the air, and all bets were suddenly off. It was a Grade A cliffhanger.

Missy thought that Oxford resembled 'Harrogate without the walking dead'

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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