Dad’s Army and 25 other glorious Yorkshire screen gems

Fall in: The movie cast of Dad's Army
Fall in: The movie cast of Dad's Army
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IT requires just four words to explain why Yorkshire is such a magnet for film-makers and television producers: location, location, location. And brass.

The glorious - and not so glorious - faces of the broad acres continue to take centre stage on the small and silver screen with cinema-goers and TV viewers alike set to enjoy some familiar sights in the weeks and months ahead.

Tonight sees the world premier of the new Dad’s Army film, much of which was filmed in Bridlington, and next month one of television’s biggest hits of 2014 returns to BBC One with the second series of Happy Valley.

The police drama has again been largely shot in the Calder Valley and around Huddersfield and is expected to be another ratings success for writer Sally Wainwright and its cast, which includes Sarah Lancashire.

Wainwright has done more than most to lift the profile of God’s own country in recent years with a string of popular and critical TV hits that were all filmed in Yorkshire, including At Home With The Braithwaites, Unforgiven and Last Tango in Halifax.

A York University graduate, Ms Wainwright hails from Sowerby Bridge and her writing demonstrates the value of local knowledge, a view not lost on her mentor Kay Mellor, whose West Yorkshire roots have been critical in the success of dramas such as Fat Friends, The Chase, Band of Gold and The Syndicate.

Heartbeat author Peter Walker, who writes under the name Nicholas Rhea, outside the Aidensfield Stores at Goathland, North Yorkshire.

Heartbeat author Peter Walker, who writes under the name Nicholas Rhea, outside the Aidensfield Stores at Goathland, North Yorkshire.

Being born in Yorkshire may not be a prerequisite to writing successful dramas set in this fine county, but it clearly helps, as does a White Rose lineage.

Steve Thompson, the creator of the imaginative period drama Jericho, which tells the story of the construction of the Ribblehead viaduct, lives in Cambridge but was inspired to write about the communities involved in the engineering project by his visits to Yorkshire as a child with his Huddersfield-born mother.

Whilst Yorkshire’s cinematic and televisual heritage can be traced back over half a century to an era when ‘kitchen sink dramas’ This Sporting Life, Room at the Top and Billy Liar were filmed in the county, the recent surge in interest owes much to the work of Screen Yorkshire.

The film and TV agency has provided an economic boost of around £25 million to the region in the last three years through judicious management of a modest ‘content fund.’

David Jason in the revival of Open All Hours

David Jason in the revival of Open All Hours

Screen Yorkshire chief executive Sally Joynson told the Yorkshire Post: “The vision for the fund was to make Yorkshire one of the most sought-after destinations for production in the UK.

“The impact that the fund has had … has been absolutely extraordinary.”

The influence of what people watch on how, and where they spend their money away from the gogglebox should not be understated: in a survey last year by train company CrossCountry, 39 per cent of people said they had visited a destination after seeing it in a TV drama.

The most successful region in the survey was Yorkshire, with more than one in five people (22 per cent) stating their intention to visit the county after being inspired by television programmes.

Castle Howard: Magnificent location for Brideshead Revisited

Castle Howard: Magnificent location for Brideshead Revisited

From Castle Howard to Hebden Bridge, Halifax to Hambleton, and Haworth to Holmfirth, here are our top 25 TV shows which have helped put Yorkshire on the map:

1 - Emmerdale

Launched in 1972 as Emmerdale Farm, this soap opera about the lives of country folk set in a fictional Dales community with a worrying level of crime and man-made disasters still draws audiences of over seven million people, even without Seth Armstrong and Amos Brearly. Once filmed at Esholt, near Bradford, the location is now a purpose-built set on the Harewood House estate, Leeds.

2 - Brideshead Revisited

Granada’s 1981 adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 novel remains a tour de force of British television, largely as a result of a great script, fine performances by its leading actors Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews, and the sumptuous setting of Castle Howard near York.

3 - All Creatures Great and Small

Based on the books of North Yorkshire vet James ‘Alf’ Wight, this endearing series ran for 90 episodes between 1978 and 1990 and told the story of veterinarian James Herriot and his adventures in the rural communities around Hambleton and the north Dales. Its stars included Christopher Timothy, Peter Davison, Robert Hardy and Carol Drinkwater, who were all involved in filming at a wide range of locations across North Yorkshire.

4 - Heartbeat

Set in the 1960s and filmed in and around the village of Goathland on the North Yorkshire Moors, this police drama captured the innocence of the decade in 18 series between 1992 and 2010. Stars included Derek Fowlds, Nick Berry, John Duttine, Tricia Penrose and Philip Franks.

5 - Last of the Summer Wine

Holmfirth provided the backdrop for the delightfully daft and endearing drama written by Roy Clarke whose comedy creations Foggy, Compo, Clegg and Nora Batty got up to all manner of escapades (many involving a tin bath on wheels) between 1973 and 2010.

6 - Last Tango in Halifax

The presence of Sarah Lancashire, Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid helped but stunning scripts from Sally Wainwright about the trials and tribulation of finding love late in life helped make this romantic drama a massive hit between 2012 and 2015.

7 - Open All Hours

The genius of Ronnie Barker’s performance as stammering, love-hungry shopkeeper Arkwright and Roy Clarke’s pin-sharp scripts made this sit-com set in a corner shop in Balby, Doncaster, a huge success during its 26 episodes that were first broadcast between 1973 and 1985.

8 - Ripping Yarns

Sheffield-born Michael Palin and Terry Jones developed a life after Monty Python with two series of this comedy drama which spoofed the boys’ own comics of the writers’ youth. Nine episodes were made in all between 1976 and 1979, many of which were shot in West Yorkshire, including Golden Gordon, which was filmed at Bradley and Kildwick Hall near Keighley. Golden Gordon told the story of Barnstoneworth United FC, a football team which lined up as follows: Haggerty F, Haggerty R, Tomkins, Noble, Carrick, Dobson, Dewhurst, Crapper, McIntyre, Treadmore, Davitt.

9 - Happy Valley

Sarah Lancashire and Sally Wainwright struck TV gold again in 2014 with the BAFTA award-winning police drama filmed in Huddersfield, Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge, Keighley, Luddenden, Todmorden, Heptonstall, Halifax and Huddersfield. A second series starts next month.

10 - Educating Yorkshire

First broadcast in 2013, this uplifting and insightful documentary captured the lives of the teachers and pupils at Thornhill Academy, Dewsbury, and won an Emmy and National Television Award, as well as hero status for its headmaster, Jonny Mitchell.

11 - Band of Gold

Writer Kay Mellor’s talent shone through in all three series of this drama about the lives of a group of women involved in the red light district of Bradford. Many of the scenes were filmed in and around the notorious Lumb Lane in the West Yorkshire city between 1995 and 1997. The cast included Barbara Dickson, Geraldine James and Samantha Morton.

12 - A Bit of a Do

Starring David Jason and Gwen Taylor, the 13 episodes of this comedy drama were written by David Nobbs and first broadcast in 1989. Each episode captured the mishaps and misunderstandings from a different social function and exteriors were filmed in Knaresborough.

13 - DCI Banks

Based on the Inspector Alan Banks novels by Canadian-based Yorkshire writer Peter Robinson, DCI Banks ran for 26 episodes between 2010 and 2015 with Stephen Tompkinson in the title role. It was filmed at over 40 locations around Yorkshire.

14 - Where The Heart Is

Originally starring Sarah Lancashire and Pam Ferris, this series also featured Philip Middlemiss, Samantha Giles, Leslie Ash and Lesley Dunlop and told the story of district nurses in the fictional town of Skelthwaite. Its 110 episodes were largely filmed in Marsden, Slaithwaite and Meltham.

15 - Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

Based on the debut novel of Susanna Clarke, this 2015 historical fantasy was set in the Napoleonic wars at a time when conjurers and magicians were enlisted to fight the French. Locations included Kirkstall Abbey; Fountains Abbey; York Minster; Oakwell Hall, Birstall; Wentworth Woodhouse; and Temple Newsam.

16 - Jericho

A 2016 historical drama which recounts the life and work of the transient communities that established makeshift towns in Victorian England during the construction of Britain’s rail network, and in particular the Ribblehead Viaduct. Starring Jessica Raine, Hans Matheson and Mark Addy, the series was filmed in Barnsley, Huddersfield and Heptonstall.

17 - Red Riding

A 2009 three-part adaptation of a quartet of books by Ossett-born David Peace, Red Riding examines police corruption and organised crime during investigations into serial killings in Yorkshire in the 1970s and 1980s. Its stars included Sean Bean, Mark Addy, Jim Carter and Warren Clarke, who were filmed at locations including the Yorkshire Post building in Leeds, Seacroft Hospital, Cookridge Hospital, Armley prison and the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield.

18 - Peaky Blinders

The Peaky Blinders were a Birmingham-based gang whose exploits were captured in two six-part series first aired on BBC Two in 2013 and 2014. A third series is currently being filmed. Although set in the Midlands, Yorkshire film locations include Leeds City Varieties; Bolton Abbey; Undercliffe Cemetery, Bradford; Peel Park, Bradford; Leeds Town Hall; Ilkley Winter Gardens; Newby Hall and Gardens; Saltaire; and the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.

19 - In Loving Memory

Set in 1929, the sit-com In Loving Memory starred Thora Hird and Christopher Beeny as mother and son undertakers in the fictional Yorkshire town of Oldshaw and featured 37 episodes between 1969 and 1986. Locations included Luddenden and Bramham Park.

20 - The Great Train Robbery

Yorkshire locations featured prominently in two feature-length dramas for BBC One in 2013 which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the historic heist in 1963. The cast list was led by Luke Evans and Jim Broadband, and locations included the Adelphi pub and Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds; Bradford city centre; Bradford City Hall; Buttershaw; Shipley; Howarth; Filey and Goole.

21 - Unforgiven

Suranne Jones played the lead role in this 2009 three-part drama from the pen of Sally Wainwright which won a Royal Television Society award as best drama serial. Much of the filming took place in Boothtown, Halifax.

22 - The Syndicate

Kay Mellor has penned three series of The Syndicate, each of which tell the stories of a group of friends following lucrative lottery wins. Series 1 (2012) starred Timothy Spall, Matthew Lewis and Joanna Page and was filmed in and around Leeds; Series 2 (2013) featured Alison Steadman, Siobhan Finneran and Mark Addy and was based in Bradford; Series 3 (2015) starred Lenny henry, Alice Krige and Anthony Andrews and was filmed at Bramham Park, which provided the setting for the fictitious Hazelwood Manor.

23 - The Chase

Not to be confused with the game show of the same name, The Chase was a drama about a family of vets and was written by Kay Mellor, whose daughter Gaynor Faye starred alongside Michelle Holmes and Nicholas Gleaves. Broadcast in 2006 and 2007, its 20 episodes were filmed around Leeds and Otley.

24 - At Home With The Braithwaites

Sally Wainwright wrote the first 22 of this series 26-episode run that was screened on ITV between 2000 and 2003. It told the story of the impact of a £38 million lottery win on a family headed by Amanda Redman and Peter Davison. The comedy drama was set and filmed in a variety of locations around Leeds.

25 - Oh No It’s Selwyn Froggitt

Created by Roy Clarke, Selway Froggitt was a clumsy, lovable local councillor, working men’s club secretary played by Bill Maynard (who would go on to play Claude Greengrass in Heartbeat) who sadly, and usually comically, did not possess the wherewithal to match his huge ambitions and pretensions. Twenty nine episodes were broadcast between 1974 and 1978, when locations included Skelmanthorpe and Elvington.