First-look imagery has been released from Shane Meadows’ three-part series The Gallows Pole, starring Michael Socha and Sophie McShera, coming soon to BBC Two and iPlayer.
Based on the book by Benjamin Myers, Shane Meadows fictionalises the remarkable true story of the rise of King David Hartley and the Cragg Vale Coiners. Set in the moorland hills of 18th Century Yorkshire, the drama follows the enigmatic David Hartley played by Michael Socha as he assembles a gang of weavers and land-workers to embark upon a revolutionary criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy and become the biggest fraud in British history.
Also starring in The Gallows Pole are Sophie McShera who plays Grace, with Thomas Turgoose as William Hartley, Yusra Warsama as Bethsheba, Anthony Welsh as Abe Oldfield, Adam Fogerty as James Broadbent, Fine Time Fontayne as Joseph Broadbent, and Ralph Ineson playing The Clothier. The series also sees screen debuts of an ensemble of first-time actors, including Stevie Binns as Mand, Jennifer Reid as Barb, and Olivia Pentelow playing Hannah.
Shane Meadows says: “I really wanted to delve into the history of this story and the circumstances that lead to an entire West Yorkshire community risking their lives to put food in their children’s bellies.
"It was during the workshopping process with the actors I realised there was also a story to tell leading up to Ben’s incredible book. A prequel that not only allowed us to understand ‘why’ the Cragg Vale Coiners did what they did, but maybe fall in love with them a smidge while they did it. It may have turned into one of the biggest crimes in British history, but it was pulled off by a bunch of destitute farmers and weavers doing what they had to to survive, and I think people will resonate with that.
"Marry that with a cast that pitches some of the UK’s finest actors alongside an awesome array of brand spanking new Yorkshire talent and you have a series unlike anything else I’ve made before.”
Benjamin Myers adds: “Shane has retained the feel of The Gallows Pole and shot it in the very same landscapes that I have been exploring for many years now, and where the true events happened. So it looks, sounds and smells right. Shane is a true auteur, he has a singular vision, and he has taken it off in a new direction. Also, credit should be given to the cast, who range from experienced life-long actors to first timers. He’s a digital alchemist!”