God On Trial: a new 90-minute drama for BBC Two
Blake Ritson plays Idek
Idek is a student of Professor Kops, a young, idealistic newcomer. Schmidt – who he knew before – describes him as a pearl in the crown of wisdom.
Idek is very articulate, a scholar who knows a great deal about Jewish history. He is very clear in his beliefs until he has listened to all of Akiba's words and is overwhelmed.
Blake Ritson explains: "Idek is a scholar who has just arrived in Auschwitz; he's the ex-pupil of another prisoner in the film, Schmidt, played by Stephen Dillane.
"As one of the youngest and most idealistic characters, I think he's unusual in that, certainly at first, he represents a hope and genuine belief that somehow all will be well.
"Throughout the course of the day, however, as his whole identity is assaulted by losing his clothes, his possessions and his hair, he completely crumbles under the strain. Through him we trace the idealist's descent into absolute despair."
Blake found the script incredibly unusual: "It is fiercely intelligent, powerful and moving, while staunchly refusing to sentimentalise the suffering of Auschwitz's prisoners.
"Frank Cottrell Boyce has done an amazing job of grappling with truly thorny issues and ideas with great skill, imagination and sensitivity while remaining uncompromisingly outspoken. It's pretty rare that a script this good lands on your desk, and when it does it's a great privilege to help bring it to the screen."
He concludes: "I think it's incredibly rare and exciting to see such huge ideas – religion, faith, loss, humanity – come under quite such unflinching, terrifying scrutiny.
"It's a film that I think many will find incredibly moving and thought provoking; it asks such huge questions but refuses to patronise the viewer with simple answers."