28 November 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
Shane Meadows to make first BBC series with Element Pictures
19 May 2021 : Nathan Griffin
Writer/Director Shane Meadows.
Revered writer/director Shane Meadows will tackle his first ever television drama for the BBC with Ireland’s Oscar-nominated production company Element Pictures.

The Gallows Pole is based on Benjamin Myers’ 2017 novel of the same name, and fictionalises the remarkable true story of the rise and fall of David Hartley and the Cragg Vale Coiners.

Set against the backdrop of the coming industrial revolution in eighteenth century Yorkshire, the compelling drama follows the enigmatic David 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 Gallows Pole is an incredible true story, little known outside of Yorkshire, about a group of very naughty men and women who started clipping and counterfeiting coins out in the Moors, as a way to keep themselves and their community alive,”  said Meadows, when speaking about the series.

The series, which is scheduled to shoot later this year, will be produced by Element Pictures and executive produced by BBC’s director of drama, Piers Wenger, and Head of Development and Drama Commissioning, Tom Lazenby, for the BBC.

“I’ve never made a period drama before so I’m absolutely buzzing, and to be doing it with Piers at the BBC, his incredible team, and Element Pictures is nothing short of an honour,” Meadows added.

Meadows first came to prominence in the late 1990s/early 2000s  with low-budget features with Fim4 and BBC Film such as a This Is EnglandOnce Upon A Time In The Midlands, and Dead Man’s Shoes. This Is England was later expanded into three mini-series – This Is England ’86, ’88, ’90.

BBC Commissions
It has been an incredibly successful year for the BB, which has seen them break major viewing figure records achieved across terrestrial and digital platforms through Irish made projects from North and South of the island.

This was highlighted by Piers Wenger at the announcement of the BBC’s new slate of drama: “I am incredibly proud of drama on the BBC and how its popularity, range and ambition is being recognised by viewers and critics alike.”

“Seeing Small Axe, I May Destroy You and Normal People receive a record number of Bafta nominations and Line of Duty becoming the biggest drama of the 21st Century is staggering and humbling.”

Wenger said he was delighted to announce six new commissions, from writers who have already made a name for themselves across the UK and Ireland. “Cash, Dolly and Candice with their incredible books, Theresa with the astounding Rocks, Stefan, who following the huge success of Mum and Him & Her is turning his hand to hour-long drama, and not least of all the legendary Shane Meadows, who is working with the BBC for the first time on a historical drama which is destined to feel utterly of the moment. And finally, I’m thrilled to say we will be working with the unequalled Michaela Coel on another project.”

Meadows most recently filmed hit Channel 4 series The Virtues, which starred Irish actors Niamh Algar (Calm With Horses), Mark O’Halloran (Rialto) and Helen Behan (This Is England ’88, ’90) with Algar and O’Halloran winning IFTAs for their performances.

Run by producers Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe, Element Pictures boasts a catalogue of recent international successes such as Lenny Abrahamson’s Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA winning Room, Yorgos Lanthimos’ Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA winning The Favourite, and most recently the record breaking television adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People

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