Formica® Laminate Applied to Channel 4’s Ackley Bridge College

Ackley Bridge the Channel 4 drama series about a new academy school that merges the lives and cultures of a West Yorkshire community is filmed on the premises of a now closed comprehensive secondary school.

The former Halifax High School was transformed for the new TV drama and features the application of Formica® laminate to the reception desk and canteen tables of the school-turned-film set.

Richard Downes, the Art Director on Ackley Bridge, comments: “The general feeling of the project was that we wanted to give our tired, run-down school a ‘lift’, to bring it up-to-date. The school itself had a blend of areas that were built in the 60s, 70s and 80s. We wanted to give the whole scheme an ‘Academy’ feel by adding modern colours and materials throughout.” 

The choice of decors offered by Formica Group permitted the creation of a modern and sleek look. Richard continues: “The palette matched our overall vibrant colour scheme. In addition, we felt that Formica laminate would provide us with a versatile and hard-wearing material that could potentially survive the rigours of shooting with children, and a film crew, for 5 years or more.”

A potential concern at the start of the project was the inherent damp within the school due to the building being unattended for a long period. Richard comments: “We thought the application of Formica laminate in the heart of winter may prove to be a challenge but the joiners did not experience any issues with the material.”

Now filming has wrapped, the intention is for the Formica product to remain in the school. Richard expands: “The project was always planned to be long-term, so the production company intend to keep filming in the school for the foreseeable future.”

Formica product is regularly specified in real schools as its durability complements the high footfall nature of the environment and its hygienic characteristics can help tackle absenteeism. In this respect the selection of Formica laminate for Ackley Bridge ensured the set delivered an authentic school experience, down to the reception and canteen tables.


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