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Lights, camera, action in Halifax and Calderdale

The long-awaited second series of ‘Gentleman Jack’, following the real life of local legend Anne Lister of Shibden Hall Halifax, is planned to return to BBC1 soon. Shot during the restrictions of late 2020 and 2021, filming took place in numerous locations, but the closest to us at Dyer’s Cottage Halifax was just 200m away at the bottom of the cobbled hillside road Wakefield Gate. This area also featured a few times in series one, notably during the introductory scenes of episode one where the carriage accident occurred. This time, social distancing and masks were mandatory but Suranne Jones (Anne Lister) was spotted, but sadly not Sophie Rundle who plays her partner Ann Walker. Series two, again written by Sally Wainwright, promises us more “big, bold stories” about their relationship during the 1830’s, when they lived together at Shibden Hall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we wait for this to hit our screens, during 2021 the true story of the Cragg Vale Coiners was being filmed in Calderdale for a BBC drama called ‘The Gallows Pole’. Written by Shane Meadows (of This is England), and based on the book by local author Benjamin Myers, the story follows David Hartley and his 1760’s counterfeiting fraud which also involved many other local individuals from the Mytholmroyd area. With only a few policemen in the Halifax district, their currency clipping activities went unnoticed until the local excise man was sent into the wilds of Calderdale to find out more. Unfortunately, one of the coiners betrayed the gang and what was a peaceful, though illegal, operation suddenly became life threatening. Starring in the highly anticipated series is Michael Sorcha as David Hartley with Thomas Turgoose, George MacKay, Tom Burke, Sophie McShera and more, including many new examples of new local talent. The hilltop village of Heptonstall features both in the drama and real life as the body of “King David” is laid to rest in the graveyard. If you would like to read more, Clip a Bright Guinea by John Marsh also recounts the story (see image below).

Series three of ‘Happy Valley’, reputedly the final one, is another long-awaited offering from our local screenwriter and producer Sally Wainwright. Series two was last seen on TV in 2016, but Sally has been otherwise busy with more of ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ and ‘Gentleman Jack’. This gritty police drama again stars Sarah Lancashire, Siobhan Finneran, James Norton and Rhys Connah as Ryan, now a teenager, and more familiar faces, as well as multiple new characters. Currently being filmed in the Boothtown area of Halifax, locations likely to be seen again include Hebden Bridge and Sowerby Bridge. No date has yet been set for its release but hopefully it will be before the end of 2022.

Meanwhile series five of ‘Ackley Bridge’, the popular Channel 4 school drama, is returning with ten new episodes. Familiar faces are Rob James-Collier, George Potts and Sunetra Sarker along with younger actors Megan Morgan, Ryan Dean, Robyn Cara and Yasmin Al Khudhair. Filmed largely at the former St Catherine’s Catholic High School, we noticed that the sign at the gate clearly states Ackley Bridge College, but do look out for some outside filming locations in the wider Halifax area too.

Russian Signpost at Dean Clough – credit Jim Duffy/ Piece Hall Marvel Filming photos – credit Richard Hizzard

 

 

 

 

 

The huge number of lorries, trailers and camera equipment currently in town has to be attributed to ‘Secret Invasion’ for the streaming service Disney+. Based on the Marvel comics, this is the latest in the Marvel superheroes series and Samuel L Jackson and Emilia Clarke have been spotted in Halifax’s magnificent Piece Hall. Apparently it’s meant to be a Russian setting as Cyrillic script has appeared on new signage here and at Dean Clough.

Watch this space for more news! Halifax and the Calderdale Valley really are Haliwood and Callywood at the moment! 

For more information do have a look at these pages in the Halifax Courier and on BBC News

If you are interested in coming to see Calderdale and Halifax for a holiday, please also take a look at our website. It’s a very comfortable, historic cottage for up to three people, located in the Wainhouse heritage area between Halifax and Sowerby Bridge. You can also find us on Facebook

 

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