Shane Meadows's new period drama is landing on our screens sooner than you think, with The Gallows Pole now being confirmed to premiere on BBC Two and iPlayer on Wednesday 31st May.


Although the acclaimed filmmaker and screenwriter is perhaps best known for his previous work on Channel 4's The Virtues and the This Is England TV spin-offs, Meadows is telling a different kind of tale in The Gallows Pole, which explores "the biggest fraud in British history".

Based on the book of the same name by Benjamin Myers, the series is a fictionalised take on the true story of David Hartley and the Cragg Vale Coiners, a gang of weavers and land-workers.

The series stars Michael Socha (This Is England) as Hartley, the enigmatic man who assembles the gang in order to grow "a revolutionary criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy".

The series also stars Sophie McShera (Downton Abbey) who will star as Grace, Thomas Turgoose (This Is England, Looted) as William Hartley, Yusra Warsama (Castle Rock) as Bethsheba, Anthony Welsh (The Trial of Christine Keeler) as Abe Oldfield, and Samuel Edward-Cook (Peaky Blinders, Better) as Isaac Hartley.

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Excitement for Meadows's first period drama has been building for some time now, with the series being given the green light back in 2021 and more recently, a slew of first look images giving us a sneak peek at the cast in action.

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Speaking about the upcoming series, Meadows said: "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."

He continued: "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."

Author Myers also said: "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!"

The Gallows Pole premieres on BBC Two on Wednesday 31st May at 9pm, when all episodes will also arrive on iPlayer. For more, check out our dedicated Drama page or our full TV Guide and Streaming Guide.


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