‘The Gallows Pole’ preview: Daisy from ‘Downton’ stars in Yorkshire period drama

We’ve got our first look at the BBC’s upcoming adaptation of The Gallows Pole!

Benjamin Myers’ novel is being brought to television by Shane Meadows, best known for making This is England and its three follow-ups.

Set in the 1760s, this six-part limited series will be the English director’s first foray into the period drama genre.

“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,” says author Benjamin Myers. “So it looks, sounds and smells right.”

The Gallows Pole is a fictional telling of the remarkable true story of the rise and fall of the Cragg Vale Coiners in the moorland hills of 18th Century Yorkshire.

Michael Socha (This Is England, Being Human) leads the cast as the enigmatic David Hartley, who 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.

Socha is joined by actress Sophie McShera as Grace.

The 37-year-old is best known for her role as Daisy in all six seasons of Downton Abbey and its two spin-off movies.

She’s also appeared in The Queen’s Gambit, The Personal History of David Copperfield, Waterloo Road, London Kills, and Disney’s Cinderella.

Downton fans should also look out for Cara Theobold, who played Ivy in ITV’s hit period drama, in The Gallows Pole.

We’ve got a photo of Sophie McShera and Michael Socha together here:

They’ll be joined by Thomas Turgoose (This Is England) as William Hartley, Yusra Warsama (Castle Rock) as Bethsheba, Anthony Welsh (The Flatshare) as Abe Oldfield, Samuel Edward-Cook (Peaky Blinders) as Isaac Hartley, Joe Sproulle (The A Word) as Joe, Adam Fogerty (Legend) as James Broadbent, Nicole Barber-Lane (Hollyoaks) as Susie, Fine Time Fontayne (Peterloo) as Joseph Broadbent, and Ralph Ineson (Peaky Blinders) as The Clothier.

Making their screen debuts are first-time actors Stevie Binns as Mand, Jennifer Reid as Barb, Soraya Jane Nabipour as Darya Hartley, Olivia Pentelow as Hannah, Charlotte Ockelton as Gwen Hartley and Dave Perkins as Tom Hartley.

The Gallows Pole began filming in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire way back in 2021.

The series is expected to premiere on BBC Two and streaming on BBC iPlayer this summer.

“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,” explained director Shane Meadows.

“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.

“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.”

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