Somehow, in the midst of other, more prosaic commitments, I missed the return of Ackley Bridge to Channel 4 until this weekend. Series 2 has now, it appears almost concluded. Thankfully, there has been very little to miss. A year on, the pupils remain the same age and in the same school year in some kind of groundhog day that applies to TV school dramas.
Miss Sharriff, the science teacher in series one has failed to make it to the second series. Where did she go? Newmarket, to continue her career as an equine vet perhaps? 
This series, we have been introduced to new science teacher Rashid Hyatt. In the first episode he is knocked off his bike by Nasreen’s mother, Kaneez Paracha as she learning to drive. This collision marks the start of a tentative romantic relationship between Mrs. Paracha and Mr. Hyatt.
Jordan, now a street artist, remains troubled, but is at least trying to be an uncle to Candice’s baby, Jamie. Meanwhile his Lothario of an older brother Cory, who is father to baby Jamie, refuses to ruin his “life for a two-minute grope” as he discards an invitation to his son’s christening. Cory, clearly confused about the finer detail details of human reproduction nevertheless appears to develop a moral compass over the course of the series.
The head teacher, Miss Carter, under pressure to achieve ‘good’ grades in external examinations where only the core subjects ‘count’, pulls all ‘low achievers’ from the subjects which they would likely achieve well in. This is, of course, illogical. In the ‘A-C economy’ (Ellsmore, 2016; Thrupp, 2018) it makes complete sense. Inevitably, Miss Keane, who teaches English and drama protests with an entirely reasonable and logical argument about young people having talents in subjects other than the core ones. It gets her almost nowhere. As a compromise, Miss Keane is allowed to direct a play and inevitably chooses Shakespeare, a Midsummer’s Night Dream to be precise. This serves to demonstrate that working class kids can engage with challenging material and triumph. We all feel good as a result.
The on-off sexual relationship Miss Keane and Mr. Qureshi were having in series one continues into series two following his marriage to the new Mrs. Qureshi. It is only cut short when Mr. Qureshi is stabbed to death. Elsewhere, the everyday life of the school continues. Cory, partly as a consequence of a motivational talk by Mr. Bell takes out Riz on the rugby pitch. Riz, recovering at home in a halo brace welcomes Hayley Booth round to his for some company. Next, via a text message he boasts about the nature of this visit and the story is soon round the school and a scene is caused. In an attempt to resolve the fall out from this event Miss Carter displays embarrassment in referring to the ‘sexual act’ which has taken place suggesting that in spite of her senior position and ultimate responsibility for safeguarding she hasn’t yet become desensitised to explicit disclosures of young people.
So far, the most memorable quote of the series has been:
“We’re not making mattresses here, we’re making people”