It was a summer that will live long in the memory in Yorkshire after millions descended on the county to witness the Tour de France roadshow roll through God’s Own County.
Now, months on from the July Grand Depart, it appears those memories could soon be relived on the silver screen, after it emerged Tour bidders Welcome to Yorkshire have held talks with a team of scriptwriters.
Gary Verity, chief executive of the tourism agency, has exclusively told The Yorkshire Post that British scriptwriters are hoping to turn the story behind the county’s Tour bid into a feature film.
The YP understands that the film would be a British comedy in the same vein as Golden Globe-nominated Calendar Girls, and Screen Yorkshire, Creative England and the British Film Institute are believed to have been involved in early talks.
The big screen announcement comes as Yorkshire is set to say a final farewell to the grandest Grand Depart in Tour de France history today, when it officially hands over the Grand Depart trophy to delegates from Utrecht, Holland, where next year’s Tour will start.
“We’ve had a meeting with people wanting to write a film on how we got this event,” Mr Verity told The YP. “It’s quite remarkable. The first thing is for these people to go ahead and write the screenplay so these things take a long time but we will see.”
Scriptwriters are expected to return to Yorkshire in the next few weeks as they continue work on the script but an investor would be needed to fund any film.
A Welcome to Yorkshire spokeswoman said it is an “ambitious project” which could take several years to hit the screens.
A team of Welcome to Yorkshire delegates have travelled to Paris to discuss the success of the 2014 Grand Depart, which was witnessed by 3.8million roadside spectators from July 5 to 7, at Palais de Congrés, in Paris, today.
The Yorkshire team will hand over the Grand Depart Trophy to Utrecht as the 2015 Tour routes are unveiled, before discussing Tour of Yorkshire routes with partners and Tour owners ASO in talks behind closed doors.
Mr Verity said: “Unforgettable, momentous and unbelievable are all words we’ve been fortunate enough to hear describe the Yorkshire Grand Depart which makes the team at Welcome to Yorkshire feel incredibly proud.
“It seems like only yesterday we were in Paris telling the world about what Yorkshire had in store for the Tour. Now, a year on, we officially hand over to Utrecht for their Grand Depart and reflect on the historic event Yorkshire hosted that has not only written us into the history books as the grandest ever Grand Depart, but promoted the county of Yorkshire to the world on a scale never before achieved.”
The three-day Tour of Yorkshire, which is on the UCI world cycling body’s 2015 calendar from May 1 to 3, will take place over the next three years and will feature new routes every year.
Organisers have so far hinted that the east coast of Yorkshire and North York Moors could be involved, and expect 1m roadside spectators to follow the three days of world class cycling next year.
Sally Joynson, Screen Yorkshire chief executive, added: “It’s not surprising there are writers who want to explore the potential of the story for the big screen.
“We have spoken to the writers but the project is still at a very early stage.”
YORKSHIRE ON THE BIG SCREEN
The rolling hills of Yorkshire and its thriving communities have inspired countless films.
The 1996 film Brassed Off, starring Ewan McGregor, and the acclaimed Calendar Girls, acted out by the likes of Julie Walters and Dame Helen Mirren, have told some of the county’s most revered tales.
And Yorkshire still has that A-list pull, with the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones signing up for the Dad’s Army feature film, while Hollywood stars Drew Barrymore and Sigourney Weaver have been filming in Ilkley and Huddersfield respectively in recent weeks.