Yorkshire’s role in some of the best TV of 2019 including Game of Thrones, Gentleman Jack and The Crown

With Gentleman Jack, The Crown and Game of Thrones, 2019 has been a stellar year for TV. Lucy Mapstone looks back at some of the highlights of the small screen.

TV has enjoyed an incredible year, with favourites reaching their finales new shows making an impact, and both streaming giants and traditional broadcasters offering audiences laughter, drama and insight on-screen.

Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II and Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip in The Crown. Picture: PA Photo/Netflix/Sophie Mutevelian.

Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II and Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip in The Crown. Picture: PA Photo/Netflix/Sophie Mutevelian.

Here, we look back at some of the most notable TV moments and biggest shows of 2019 - and their connections to God’s Own Country.

After eight series, epic fantasy drama Game of Thrones came to an end in May. Expectations were immeasurably high among its millions of fans, but the final episode left some disappointed.

The reaction to the feature-length episode - which included a controversial plot twist - was mixed, and one disgruntled fan even launched a petition demanding the finale be rewritten, slamming the work of creators David Benioff and DB Weiss.

How Game of Thrones cinematographer Fabian Wagner learnt his trade in Leeds
The backlash did nothing to dent Game Of Thrones’ awards success though, as it defied the middling critical reception to scoop two major gongs at the Emmy Awards.

Knaresborough firm Flying Colours has been making royal flags for The Crown from series one.

Knaresborough firm Flying Colours has been making royal flags for The Crown from series one.

Cinematographer Fabian Wagner, who learnt his trade while living in a student house in Leeds in the early 2000s, worked on two key episodes in the final series including The Long Night, featuring a climatic battle against a huge army of the dead.

Turning to sport, England may not have won in the gripping Rugby World Cup final against South Africa, but the coverage of the match did become the year’s most-watched TV moment, according to ITV, with a peak audience of 12.8 million viewers.

Another sporting win this year came with the Women’s World Cup, with the BBC saying its overall coverage of the tournament attracted 28.1 million watching on television and online, therefore drawing more than double the number of viewers than in 2015.

Phil Neville named four Yorkshire players in his England Lionesses squad for the summer tournament in France - Whitby-born Beth Mead, Sheffield’s Millie Bright, Harrogate defender Rachel Daly and York’s Lucy Staniforth.

Elsewhere, when The Crown returned for a third series, Netflix delivered a winner.

Meet the man with a Royal Warrant who supplies flags for the Queen and whose creations feature in The Crown, X Men and Fast and Furious

Olivia Colman had a sizeable job when taking over from Claire Foy as the Queen in the third season of the lavish royal drama. But the Oscar-winning star did it with aplomb, drawing high praise for her portrayal of a slightly older Queen Elizabeth II, one with even more weight on her shoulders as the drama moved into the 1960s.

With Helena Bonham Carter taking over as Princess Margaret from Vanessa Kirby excellently, and Tobias Menzies doing a near-perfect imitation of Prince Philip having taken over from Matt Smith, the dramatic - and at times harrowing - 10 new episodes were well and truly worth the two-year wait.

Yorkshire was not without a role in the show’s production. Knaresborough firm Flying Colours Flagmakers, run by Andy Ormrod, has been making royal flags for The Crown from series one.

“All the flags in the drama are made here,” he says - and the company is also flagging up series four. The flags are all historically correct, based on research by the TV company.

One show that firmly put Yorkshire on the map this year was Huddersfield-born screenwriter Sally Wainwright’s Gentleman Jack.

Following the story of Halifax diarist and landowner Anne Lister, who has been dubbed Britain’s first modern lesbian, it was received to much acclaim at both sides of the Atlantic.

Gentleman Jack writer Sally Wainwright: Why taking Anne Lister’s diaries to TV is a labour of love

Its global success proved to be a huge boost for tourism in Halifax, with visitors to Lister’s former home, Shibden Hall, trebling between May and August. Fans have also descended on the wider area to visit previously unremarkable pubs, churches and filming locations connected to Lister’s life or to the show itself.

And with Gentleman Jack set to return for a second series, that boost looks likely to stick around.