Chaplain in TV’s Banished ‘should have Yorkshire twang’

Historian Robb Robinson
Historian Robb Robinson
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The chaplain in the new period drama Banished should have been played with a Yorkshire accent, according to a historian.

The real Richard Johnson, played in the Jimmy McGovern drama by Ewen Bremner, came from Welton, near Hull, and conducted the first Christian service in the New South Wales colony.

Maritime historian Robb Robinson says: “If you listen the accent seems to be played by a Scotsman - it’s a pity they haven’t given him more of a Yorkshire twang.”

Johnson, played in the Jimmy McGovern drama by Ewen Bremner, was educated at Hull Grammar. He was appointed chaplain to the first fleet in 1786 and spent around a decade in the colony before returning to Hull.

Mr Robinson said: “He was noted for his work among the convicts and the fact he built the first church there.

“Frustrated by the fact he couldn’t get the governor to build a church, he built one himself at his own expense.

“He was also quite a prominent horticulturalist and experimented with growing oranges and lemons.

“One other very striking thing about him was that he named his daughter Milbah - an Aboriginal name - which was a really unusual thing to do. It’s a very interesting drama but it takes a lot of dramatic licence.

“Some essence of him seems to be coming out the only problem I have with is the accent.”

Mr Robinson said there was a strong Yorkshire dimension to the story of the First Fleet - as five of the 11 were built in Yorkshire, including the Alexander, from Hull, which had three local convicts on board, the oldest 22.