How Gentleman Jack, All Creatures Great and Small and Peaky Blinders can boost Yorkshire's economy

The global popularity of TV shows such as Gentleman Jack, All Creatures Great and Small and Peaky Blinders can bring economic benefits to Yorkshire as the region emerges from the pandemic, a major virtual business event was told.

All Creatures Great and Small. Pictured: (L-R) Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley), Siegfried Farnon (Samuel West), James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph), Helen Alderson (played by Rachel Shenton) and Tristan Farnon (Callum Woodhouse).

James Mason, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said growing numbers of people wanted to visit the locations of dramas which have made the region famous around the world.

Mr Mason said Yorkshire could also capitalise on the large numbers of international students who have decided to study and potentially settle in the region.

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He said: “If we can attract students to our region we are opening our network to theirs. I really believe in a Yorkshire for all; where we can celebrate our commonalities. It’s got to pull together all factions and areas of the county.”

James Mason

Mr Mason said that, for example, Chinese students tweeting about their first trip to the Yorkshire Dales could make the county attractive to a new global audience.

Speaking at South Yorkshire Chamber’s virtual patrons’ event, Mr Mason said the pandemic had posed a challenge for all business leaders, and his own organisation’s governance and funding had also come under the spotlight in recent months.

At a board meeting earlier this month, Mr Mason said that the agency did have a “long-term future” after promises of private and public sector support.

Speaking at yesterday’s online event, Mr Mason said: “If a body like Welcome to Yorkshire doesn’t exist, who will fill that vacuum? There is a real appetite to work together. Welcome to Yorkshire has to demonstrate that breadth of offering across the whole county.”

“Our vision is to become a global marketing agency for all of Yorkshire. The strategy will be one of collaboration.”

He said the organisation aimed to appoint Yorkshire ambassadors and strengthen its relationships with local authorities and strategic partners.

He added:“We want Yorkshire ambassadors who really understand what it means to come from South Yorkshire. We have a global centre for academic excellence. Our job is to provide that back story.”

The event also heard from Dan Fell, the CEO of Doncaster Chamber, who told the audience of business leaders: “I know how relentless and exhausting these times are. Help is available to companies so please take it. We know how lonely and thankless it can be.”

Andrew Denniff, the CEO of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber, said there was growing awareness of the pressures on workers’ mental health caused by the economic uncertainty and the threat of redundancies.

Alexis Krachai of Sheffield Chamber added: “ We are intent on re-wiring how things work in this region and making sure the business voice is heard more loudly.

“Entrepreneurs and business leaders will be the heroes of the recovery. It will be the business community that reshapes our economy.”

He said the chamber would think “deeply and meaningfully” about how it would help people to start businesses.

He added: “If we are going to come out of this stronger it will be the business community that leads the charge.”

Mr Krachai said business support was a “cluttered place” and a process to simplify it would be helpful.

The event was chaired by Greg Wright, the deputy business editor of The Yorkshire Post.

A number of high profile TV shows have helped to stimulate global interest in Yorkshire.

The new adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small has been Channel 5’s biggest success, in terms of TV audience share, at 25 per cent.

Filmed in a number of Yorkshire locations including Grassington (Darrowby), Bolton Abbey Estate and Ripon Racecourse, the new series has also helped to boost visitor numbers to the Thirsk home and practice of Alf Wight (James Herriot).

For more information on productions filmed in the region, visit www.filmedinyorkshire.co.uk

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James Mitchinson