Ackley Bridge

Rating 7.6
Streamer All4
Seasons 4
Episodes 36 x 45 mins

This teen drama takes its plot lines from real life events that have taken place in British schools. Does anyone know who it was that said, “your school days are the best of your life”? Because we need a word.

In Ackley Bridge, we’re in an old mill town in Yorkshire, where due to underfunding two local state schools are being merged together to save a bit of dosh. But getting these two groups of teenagers to come together as one is going take more than sticking them all in a shiny new academy class room – up until now, the students had been segregated based on race. One school had the local white kids, the other was populated almost entirely of Asian, Muslim students. What could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot. There’s hijabs being ripped off, brutal bitch-slapping, after school shagging and nudes flying about from phone to phone.

This is one of many brilliant shows on Channel 4’s streaming service, here are some more

And Britain’s teens are loving it. Whilst their parents weren’t watching, they’ve formed a devoted fan base, taking over social media with discussions on plotlines and characters, creating trends on TikTok and hashtags on Twitter. In fact, The Guardian has reported that the show has become Channel 4’s most successful YA show since This is England 90. Turns out teens can’t get enough of this funny, relatable and down to earth drama, loving it’s blend of Waterloo Road type storylines, played out in an Educating Yorkshire setting.

We know that for adults more used to the high class British TV of say, Happy Valley or War and Peace, you might not yet be sure you want to sit down with your teen for a night’s binge watching of Ackley Bridge, but we really encourage you to give it a go – whilst there might be a lot of adolescent shenanigans, its plots are centred around complex topics like race, poverty, and prejudice, not shying away from tackling the tensions that these kids of communities face.

For teen-friendly viewing, the fantasy series Shadow and Bone is a great option

And The Guardian’s Sarah Hughes says “The show is particularly adept at balancing those darker moments with a lovely lightness of tone, occasionally breaking out a musical interlude and tackling its teenage love stories with sensitivity and heart, most notably Muslim Nas’s tenderly handled coming out.” The Telegraph’s Michael Hogan thinks this warmth is helped along by the cast, “largely drawn from Halifax, which lent classroom scenes spark and authenticity,” whilst in The Daily Mail, Christopher Stevens calls it “Grange Hill for grown-ups.”

First shown June 2017. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.

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