‘Downton Abbey’ stars reunited in new 1760s Yorkshire drama ‘The Gallows Pole’

A great cast has been revealed for Shane Meadows’ first ever period drama.

The English director and screenwriter is best known for the 1980s-set film This is England and its three follow-up series.

It was announced in May that Meadows is adapting Benjamin Myers’ novel The Gallows Pole for the BBC.

The six-part TV series will tell the remarkable true story of the rise and fall of the Cragg Vale Coiners in the 1760s.

The official synopsis for The Gallows Pole reads: “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.”

Leading the cast as David Hartley will be Michael Socha (This Is England, Papillon, Being Human).

He’ll be joined by Tom Burke (The Musketeers), Thomas Turgoose (This Is England), and George MacKay (1917).

The line-up of actors also includes Yusra Warsama (Castle Rock), Eve Burley (Secret State), Nicole Barber Lane (Hollyoaks), Samuel Edward-Cook (Peaky Blinders), Anthony Welsh (Master of None), Joe Sproulle (The A Word), Adam Fogerty (Legend), and Fine Time Fontayne (How We Used To Live).

Excitingly for period drama fans, Downton Abbey stars Sophie McShera and Cara Theobold will be reunited in the series. The pair played Daisy and Ivy in ITV’s hit series.

Writer and director Shane Meadows commented: “Putting this cast together, with the undying support of 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 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.

“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.”

Sophie McShera is expected to reprise the role of Daisy in the upcoming Downton Abbey sequel.

The Gallows Pole is filming right now in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, England.

The series will premiere in the UK on BBC One in 2022.

Benjamin Myers’ novel The Gallows Pole is available on Amazon.