Agnes O’Casey stars in BBC's Ridley Road trailer
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After much anticipation, the onscreen adaption of Jo Bloom’s novel finally aired on BBC One with Vivien Epstein (played by Agnes O’Casey) taking centre stage. However as the episode began to unfold, viewers took to Twitter to air how uncomfortable they were watching most of those scenes.
Taking to Twitter Milominder wrote: “Uncomfortable, disturbing, evocative. Everything high-quality drama should be. Knocks that submarine bollocks into a cocked hat.”
Whereas, user Demita commented: “I know it’s a drama and its history but man this is so uncomfortable, don’t think I can watch another episode.”
The episode opened up with Vivien living with her parents in Manchester where she was ready to move out.
She took the opportunity to run away and relocate to London, where she was on a mission to find her ex-boyfriend Jack Morris (Tom Varey)
Throughout the episode, it was revealed Jack was in fact a spy for a covert group of Jewish anti-fascist activists.
As he spent his time leaking information to Jewish activists, Vivien found herself getting involved and then she was suddenly enlisted to infiltrate the racists for the anti-fascist rebellion.
Fans watched as this caused civil unrest in the country and protests, shining a light on the nations disturbing history during the ’60s.
Other viewers tweeted the author and wrote: “Ridley Road is a really great debut. A poignant sometimes uncomfortable read exploring issues in the 60’s East End.”
With the chilling scene of old ladies chanting “take our country back,” the episode even included real footage from the ’60s for perspective.
Another viewer, Samantha, took to Twitter to share: “#Ridley Road – fab! Uncomfortable but fab.”
Helen tweeted: “Ridley Road blimey, shaping up well but very uncomfortable – Lots of parallels to today, Sadly.”
As well as including footage, the episode also portrayed the Nazi-inspired rally which actually took place in Trafalgar Square in the summer of 1962.
Ahead of its release, the daughter of an Orthodox Jew Sarah Solemani spoke to The Guardian about the rally.
She stated: “Surrounding Trafalgar Square were police officers, paid to protect the Nazi rhetoric under the auspices of freedom of speech, warding off the chorus of boos.
“The boos were voiced by groups of anti-fascists, who, when such events got violent, as they often did, would usually be arrested,” she continued.
Despite being uncomfortable for some, other viewers understood the importance of Ridley Road being shown on TV.
Marika tweeted: “Ridley Road on BBC One is excellent but chilling. Important viewing, especially now when antisemitism is on the rise again.”
Ralph wrote: “Just watched first episode of Ridley Road in BBC One Brilliant. Such an important programme.”
Viewers will have to stay tuned to witness how everything will play out for Vivien, in her love life as well as her political fight.
Ridley Road season one is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
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