Realtime revealed the VFX work which entered the four-part BBC1 drama Ridley Road, which he worked on alongside Red Production Company.
Against the backdrop of a swinging 1960s London, Ridley Road focuses on a world of the East End where far-right fascism is on the rise. Inspired by the struggle of Group 62, a coalition of London Jews who spoke out against the rise of neo-Nazism in post-war Britain, he sees a young Jewish woman, Vivien Epstein, leave her comfortable life in Manchester and start working with them.
Shot in Bolton, Liverpool and Manchester, a key part of Realtime’s work has been to transform these locations into key London stages. This involved set extensions, invisible effects, and SFX enhancements, with special effects supervisor Sue Land providing on-set supervision – supported in production by lead producer Fiona York and production manager Jane Forsyth.
As the series is based on real events, the art department and production researcher were able to compile a comprehensive library of still and moving images to use as a reference when recreating famous places.
Some key scenes also had to intersperse seamlessly with existing archival footage, including the infamous Trafalgar Square riots, which left the challenge of creating modern digital images that blend seamlessly into vintage material.
There was also the Covid Challenge, which pushed filming back to fall and winter, meaning shorter days on set and only being able to shoot with a limited number of ‘bubble’ actors. .
Land said, “It has been an absolute pleasure working with Red Production Company on this series whose message is as relevant today as it was then. To say it was hard to film in the middle of a pandemic is an understatement, but everyone had an ‘I can do it’ attitude and incredible good humor. Every part of the production had to be flexible as the locations were swapped and the weather literally threw everything at us including a snowstorm on the last day.
Real-Time Executive Producer Jonathan Rawlinson added, “We were delighted to be working with a local production company in the area and we feel very lucky to be playing a part in the telling of this story which although it does unfold over fifty years ago, has an important and timely message about the threat of anti-Semitism.
All Ridley Road episodes are now available on BBC iPlayer.