Michael Socha stars in The Gallow Pole, a new BBC Two drama about Shane Meadows’ Cragg Vale Coiners
The Gallows Pole, a new drama from writer-director Shane Meadows, is coming to BBC Two at the end of May.
Starring This Is England’s Michael Socha and Downton Abbey’s Sophie Mcshera, the series tells the true story of the Cragg Vale Coiners (a group of 18th century forgers from Yorkshire).
Here is everything you need to know about The Gallows Pole.
What is it about?
BBC Two’s official synopsis for The Gallows Pole explains that “18th-century Yorkshire is a divided country. While the aristocracy builds the first factories and cotton mills, the common people starve. David Hartley has been away from his family’s remote home on top of a moorland for seven years. On his return journey to Cragg Vale, West Yorkshire, David gets lost on the moors. He is dragging a mysterious looking bag of tools with him and on his last legs.”
“As he is about to lie down and die, he is saved by six mythical deer who let him know that his work on earth is not done yet. David’s mission is to assemble a gang of weavers and land workers to embark on a criminal enterprise to restore comfort and dignity to his community. Hidden in the wilderness of the Yorkshire hills and dales, their business is ‘cutting’: counterfeiting, a treasonable offense punishable by death.
Is The Gallows Pole based on a true story?
Yes it is! The Gallows Pole is inspired by a book of the same name by author Ben Meyers, who in turn was inspired by the true story of Cragg Vale Coiners. Many of the characters in The Gallows Pole, like David Hartley, were real people.
Who stars in The Gallows Pole?
Michael Socha plays David Hartley, the leader of Cragg Vale Coiners. Socha is perhaps best known for This Is England, an earlier collaboration with The Gallows Pole writer Shane Meadows; otherwise, he might as well recognize him from the supernatural drama Being Human, the prison drama Time, and the period piece Chernobyl.
Sophie Mcshera plays Grace Hartley, David’s wife and a key figure in the gang. She’ll recognize Mcshera as Daisy Mason from Downton Abbey, or perhaps as Ros McCain, a student from Waterloo Road. She also starred in The Queen’s Gambit, Cinderella, and The Personal History of David Copperfield.
They are joined by Thomas Turgoose (This Is England) as William Hartley, Samuel Edward-Cook (Better) as Isaac Hartley, Adam Fogerty (Snatch) as James Broadbent and Anthony Welsh (The Flatshare) as Abe Oldfield, among others.
Who writes and directs the series?
Shane Meadows wrote and directed all three episodes of The Gallows Pole. Meadows is probably best known for the film This Is England and its television follow-ups, but you may also know him from the Stephen Graham drama The Virtues, the 2008 film Somers Town, and the music documentary The Stone Roses: Made of Stone.
Is there a trailer for The Gallows Pole?
Yes there are! You can see it right here.
When and how can I see the series?
The Gallows Pole starts on BBC Two on Wednesday 31 May at 9pm. New episodes will air every Wednesday thereafter, but you’ll also be able to stream the full series as part of a boxset on BBC iPlayer as soon as the first ends. episode.
How many episodes are there?
The Gallows Pole is a three part drama, with each episode around an hour long.
Where is The Gallows Pole filmed?
The Gallows Pole was filmed on location in Yorkshire, primarily at Heptonstall and Hebden Bridge (which you might recognize as the Happy Valley setting earlier in the year).
Why should you watch The Gallows Pole?
It’s one to watch if you like Shane Meadows’ work in general, of course, but you might as well give it a try if you enjoyed The Gold earlier in the year, as they both seem to deal with similar themes.