43 Group will be subject of six-part BBC drama series

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

43 Group will be subject of six-part BBC drama series

The 43 group
The 43 group
Photo credit to Janette Beckman - http://www.janettebeckman.com/
Morris Beckman, a merchant seaman and veteran of the 43 Group – died earlier this year (Photo credit to Janette Beckman)

East End Jews who took on Britain’s post-war fascists are to be the subject of a new six-part TV series for the BBC and American network NBC.

Written by Erik Jendresen, Emmy-winning creator of Band of Brothers, the new drama series will tell the story of Jewish vigilantes who hit back against Oswald Mosley and his ‘Blackshirts’ between 1946 and 1950.

It will include footage of the late Morris Beckman, a merchant seaman and veteran of the 43 Group, which he helped form on his return from the war in February 1946, when he and 42 other Jewish ex-servicemen came together to form a paramilitary organisation to tackle the threat. Among them was a former British Army private now learning hairdressing, called Vidal Sassoon.

Home-grown fascists at the time were busy stirring up communal hatred by smashing windows of Jewish schools, abusing Jews in the street and daubing ‘PJ’ – Perish Judah – on buildings. 

What followed was four years’ of pitched battles, in which the 43 Group – which grew to include 100 members – broke up fascist gatherings with violence. Knuckle-dusters, knives, steel-toed boots and sharpened belt buckles were used on both sides, with serious injuries sustained. As Sassoon later said: “After Auschwitz, there were no laws.”

Now, after three years researching the activities of the 43 Group and interviewing its remaining members, the Anglo-American producers say they are ready to start casting and filming the drama, to be called ‘The 43’. 

A Community Security Trust (CST) spokesman said: “It’s a very interesting episode in the community’ history. It brings more colour and nuance to our understanding of Jewish integration and how anti-Semitism was fought. It was a time when a lot of Jewish people really stood up and it worked.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: