Shane Meadows casts ‘This Is England’ stars in new period drama

‘The Gallows Pole’ is set in 18th century Yorkshire

Thomas Turgoose and Michael Socha will reunite with This Is England director Shane Meadows for a new BBC drama.

The Gallows Pole, based on the novel of the same name by Benjamin Myers, is a six-part series set in 18th century Yorkshire to the backdrop of the impending industrial revolution.

The series dramatises the true story of the rise and fall of David Hartley (Michael Socha) and his band of counterfeiters the Cragg Vale Coiners – who produced fake gold coins to supplement their small incomes from weaving.

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Meadows states half the cast is formed of “underrepresented” actors and actresses, after holding open auditions and watching over 6,500 tapes.

Shane Meadows
Shane Meadows will direct ‘The Gallows Pole’ CREDIT: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Speaking about the show, Meadows said: “Putting this cast together (with the undying support of [casting director] Shaheen Baig 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!

“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 the 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.

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“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 cast also includes 1917 star George MacKay, Mank’s Tom Burke, Downton Abbey’s Sophie McShera and Cara Theobold, alongside Nicole Barber-Lane from Hollyoaks. Yusra Warsama, Eve Burley, Samuel Edward-Cook, Anthony Welsh, Joe Sproulle, Adam Fogerty and Fine Time Fontayne will also star.

Turgoose and Socha previously played Shaun Fields and Harvey respectively in This Is England, and reprised their roles in TV series spin-offs This Is England ‘86, This Is England ‘88 and This Is England ‘90.

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