Ackley Bridge: Channel 4 share behind the scenes
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Ackley Bridge season four aired last year on Channel 4 and included the departure of original character headteacher Mandy Carter (played by Jo Joyner). She led the way in merging two schools to help build a better future for all of its students and helped numerous pupils with their personal problems over the years. However, season three was the beginning of the end for actress Joyner’s time on Ackley Bridge.
WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Ackley Bridge.
In season three, Mandy left Ackley Bridge College to go on maternity leave with Sian Oakes (Ty Glaser) taking over the role.
This was until she had an inappropriate relationship with student Cory Wilson (Sam Retford) which got her fired.
Mandy returned to Ackley Bridge but only as a teacher with Martin Evershed (Rob James-Collier) taking over the job as acting headteacher.
But by the end of season four, she made a life-changing decision that no one expected.
Mandy informed her colleagues that she would not be staying at the school for good.
She had received the opportunity to start up an all-girls school in Nepal which she chose to take.
Mandy felt she was no longer needed at Ackley Bridge, wanting to take on new opportunities elsewhere.
Much like her character, actress Joyner felt a similar way about leaving the Channel 4 series after four years.
Why did Jo Joyner really leave Ackley Bridge as Mandy Carter?
Joyner stars in the latest Harlan Coben book TV adaptation on Netflix called Stay Close.
The limited series premiered on New Year’s Eve with Joyner playing Detective Erin Cartwright opposite James Nesbitt as Detective Jack Broome.
Prior to Stay Close, other Coben novels which have been brought to life by the streaming service include The Stranger, Safe, The Woods and The Innocent.
Joyner told press including Express.co.uk that her New Year’s Resolution in 2020 was to star in the author’s next series.
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The 44-year-old actress explained: “He’s a favourite writer of one of my best friends and I have loved all of the shows and, of course, we all love Netflix, and this year was pandemic New Year.
“So it was just me, the kids and my husband and we had a big sort of party at home and part of it is talking about what we want out of the year and what we would like to do next year.
“I had been going between two series for five years and have been very lucky but I thought I need to take a jump, this is too safe, I need to free up a side of the year to do something new and different.
“I put it in the bowl that I wanted to be part of the new Harlan Coben [show] on Netflix so isn’t that funny?”
As well as Ackley Bridge, Joyner has been starring in the BBC One mystery series Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators as Luella Shakespeare since 2018.
She will be reprising her role when the drama returns for its next season on Monday, March 21, 2022.
Soap fans are also going to know Joyner as Tanya Branning in EastEnders, which she starred in for 12 years before leaving for good in 2018.
Ackley Bridge will return for season 5 in 2022 on Channel 4. Stay Close is available to watch on Netflix.
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