Review: Ackley Bridge, season 3

Ackley Bridge main cast

Ackley Bridge, season 3, is streaming on Acorn TV for US viewers. This British series is about a racially diverse school in West Yorkshire. Season 3 dealt with some heavy, heartbreaking topics.

In Ackley Bridge, a mix of English and Pakistani students are thrown together in the Ackley Bridge College. We’ve followed the lives of both the students and teachers for two seasons. This season’s storyline gets darker. The students are on the verge of growing up and leaving Ackley Bridge. It’s a hard year for many of our favorite characters.

I’m going to be a bit cryptic in my summary of events in season 3, because there are some major plot points that I don’t want to tell you about in advance.

Nasreen (Amy-Leigh Hickman) gets word that she has a place at Oxford. Exciting news. However, things that happen during the year make her less interested in pursuing that dream. She even drops out of school for a while. She and her best friend Missy (Poppy Lee Friar) are in an accident early in the season.

Megan Parkinson and Amy-Leigh Hickman in Ackley Bridge
Possibly the only 2 lesbians in Ackley Bridge

Sam (Megan Parkinson) and Nasreen remain a couple – most of the time. Major differences between them are tricky. Sam’s mother (Natalie Gavin) gets out of prison and Sam’s life changes quite a lot as a result.

Nasreen’s gay male friend, Nav (Gurjeet Singh), makes plans to go to drama school. Nav helps several people through some hard times in season 3.

Head Teacher Mandy Carter (Jo Joyner) is about to pop out a baby, but she remains very active in the students’ lives despite that. She wants Martin Evershed (Robert James-Collier) to be the interim head teacher while she’s on maternity leave. However, the trust that took over the school in season 2 hires Sian Oakes (Ty Glaser) for that job.

Numerous inept and uncaring teachers are imported into the school by the trust. Sue Carp (Charlie Hardwick) represents the lot of them with her full blown racism and cynicism.

Sunetra Sarker in Ackley Bridge

Nasreen’s mom Kaneez (Sunetra Sarker) remains my favorite character. Her sassy attitude is perfection! She gets promoted out of the cafeteria into a job working directly with the students. The science teacher Rashid Hyatt (Tony Jayawardena) is still her fella. He even gets her a ring – but will she accept it?

Cory (Sam Retford), the school Lothario, has an affair with a teacher this season. Whew, does that cause a mess.

There are other characters who rise to the surface of the plotlines in season 3, which was as well-done as previous seasons, but not as lighthearted. The acting and writing remain top quality.

With the main cast of students getting out of Ackley Bridge College and moving off to new lives, the final episode felt like the wrap up for some of the characters. A 4th season with a revised format is in the works. I think the series is to be commended for the way it deals with LBGTQ issues, racial and religious bias, and family drama.

Women directors in season 3 include Rachna Suri and Penny Wollcock.

poster for Ackley Bridge

Here’s a season 3 trailer from Channel 4 in the UK.

Are you a fan of Ackley Bridge? What did you think of season 3?

Author: Virginia DeBolt

After many years as an educator and writer, Virginia retired from working life. She's always loved a good movie or TV show and wants to use her free time to talk about them with you now. She's Old Ain't Dead!

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