Cast announced for Shane Meadows’ new BBC drama

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

Filming has started in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire for Shane Meadows’ new drama, Gallows Pole.

The drama is based on the novel by Benjamin Myers, which fictionalises the true story of the rise and fall of David Hartley and the Cragg Vale Coiners.

It is set against the backdrop of the coming industrial revolution in 18th century Yorkshire and follows Hartley 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.

The newly announced cast features an ensemble of first-time actors alongside some well-known names including: Michael Socha (This Is England, Papillon); Thomas Turgoose (This Is England, Looted); George MacKay (1917, Captain Fantastic); Tom Burke (Mank, The Souvenir); Sophie McShera (Cinderella, Downton Abbey); Cara Theobold (Downton Abbey, Crazyhead); Yusra Warsama (Castle Rock); Eve Burley (Secret State); Nicole Barber Lane (Hollyoaks); Samuel Edward-Cook (Peaky Blinders); Anthony Welsh (Master Of None); Joe Sproulle (The A Word); Adam Fogerty (Legend); and Fine Time Fontayne (How We Used To Live)

“Putting this cast together, with the undying support of Shaheen Baig [Casting Director] and her amazing team, has been an absolute joy. To be working with actors I’ve grown up with and/or have been desperate to work with, alongside oodles of incredible ‘as yet’ undiscovered Yorkshire-based talent, is an absolute honour and I’ve not been this passionate about shooting a project in years!” said Meadows.

"After some initial rehearsals back in spring, me and the team went on an open-casting odyssey, watching over 6,500 self-tapes from unrepresented actors and actresses, and were blown away by the quality of tapes that were submitted. We went from hoping to find one or two new faces, to making up half of the entire cast from those tapes and I believe it’s going to create a series quite unlike anything else I’ve ever worked on.

"This is the 18th century yes, but viewed through a slightly more anarchic lens and will - like my previous work - have a soundtrack that fits the mood like a psychedelic glove, rather than historical expectations.”

The Gallows Pole was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, and is produced by Element Pictures in association with Big Arty for the BBC in association with A24.

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