Ridley Road’s Rory Kinnear speaks on ‘abominable’ co-stars: ‘Tried to make life difficult’

Ridley Road: BBC release trailer for new drama series

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BBC drama Ridley Road is based on Jo Bloom’s novel of the same name, and tells the story of the far-right fascist movements in the East End during the 1960s and those who tried to quash them. Rory plays the leader of the new-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM), Colin Jordan, and recalling filming the series, joked his co-stars were “abominable”.

When asked how it has been to work with young cast members Tom Varey, who plays Jack Morris and Agnes O’Casey, who has taken on the role of Vivien Epstein, Rory joked he hated it.

“It’s been abominable,” he commented. “I hate the young. I hate their hope and I hate their dreams and I’ve tried to crush them as much as possible.”

He continued: “No, I mean the nice thing about acting on any kind of project is that you’re working with a whole wide range of people and ages, at different stages of people’s careers.

“You get to work and get to know people intensely for a couple of months and then you never have to see them again.”

“No, I mean obviously for Agnes, this is such an enormous moment in her life, being her first ever job out of drama school.”

Talking to the BBC, he continued: “To be essentially in every scene and being the whole centrepiece for the show is huge.

“I’ve tried to make life as difficult as possible for her and to remind her that it’s not always like this and some of us had to struggle to get any kind of career going!

“And, as happy as she is, we all hate her for it.”

Speaking of what drew him to the role of Colin, Rory explained: “During the 1960s he had initially established the BNP with someone else, but they splintered off and became the National Socialist Movement, which in the programme, we find him the head of in 1962.

“He did eventually find himself falling from grace – if you can say that he was in a place of grace to start with – and I think he died around 2008 and continued his diatribe of hate until the end of his life.”

Episode one will see Agnes left angry with her parents decision to marry her off, which leads her to sneak away during the night.

She ends up in London after tracking down Jack, who is dangerously undercover amongst the National Socialist Movement.

He is tasked with feeding back to the 62 Group, an anti-fascist movement which tried to ensure the safety of the local Jewish community.

Agnes ends up getting more involved with the operation that she had planned though, and soon her loyalties are tested.

The synopsis for part one reads: “In 1960s London, Vivien, a young Jewish hairdresser, discovers the 62 Group – an intelligence-gathering underground movement trying to stop the rise of the far right.”

The programme has been in the works for some time and was first announced back in 2019.

Like many TV projects, the pandemic delayed production for the series, which will consist of four hour-long episodes.

As well as Rory, the series stars Tracy-Ann Oberman, Eddie Marsan and Tamzin Outhwaite.

Ridley Road begins tonight on BBC One at 9pm.

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