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This Is England stars cast in Shane Meadows’ new project

·3-min read

This Is England stars Thomas Turgoose and Michael Socha have rejoined Shane Meadows for his new period drama, the BBC has announced.

Meadows, 48, previously received critical praise for creating hit 2006 film This Is England, which is set in 1983 and follows a group of English skinheads.

His new six-part series with Turgoose and Socha will be his first television drama for the BBC, titled The Gallows Pole, and is based on the novel of the same name by Benjamin Myers.

Meadows has said half of the cast are unrepresented actors and actresses and he feels this will “create a series quite unlike anything else” he has worked on.

Meadows said: “Putting this cast together (with the undying support of (casting director) Shaheen Baig and her amazing team) has been an absolute joy.

“To be working with actors I’ve grown up with and/or have been desperate to work with, alongside oodles of incredible ‘as yet’ undiscovered (Yorkshire based) talent, is an absolute honour and I’ve not been this passionate about shooting a project in years!

“After some initial rehearsals back in spring, me and the team went on an ‘open casting’ odyssey, watching over 6,500 self-tapes from unrepresented actors and actresses and were blown away by the quality of tapes that were submitted.

“We went from hoping to find one or two new faces to making up half of the entire cast from those tapes and I believe it’s going to create a series quite unlike anything else I’ve ever worked on.

“This is the 18th century yes, but viewed through a slightly more anarchic lens and will (like my previous work) have a soundtrack that fits the mood like a psychedelic glove, rather than historical expectations.”

Svengali Premiere – London
This is Shane Meadows’ first TV drama with the BBC (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The new BBC drama is set against the backdrop of the coming industrial revolution in 18th-century Yorkshire and fictionalises the true story of the rise and fall of David Hartley and the Cragg Vale Coiners.

It follows Hartley, played by Socha, as he assembles a gang of weavers and land-workers to become counterfeiters, starting a criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy.

Also joining the cast are George MacKay, who starred in the war film 1917, Tom Burke who was in the film Mank, Downton Abbey’s Sophie McShera and Cara Theobold, and Hollyoaks star Nicole Barber-Lane.

Yusra Warsama, Eve Burley, Samuel Edward-Cook, Anthony Welsh, Joe Sproulle, Adam Fogerty, and Fine Time Fontayne have also been cast, alongside the ensemble of first-time actors.

The series is being filmed in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

Piers Wenger, the director of BBC drama who commissioned the show, said: “Shane’s talent for spotting and working with the newest and most authentic talent is second to none and will play a key role in setting this drama apart.

“It’s an honour to be working with Shane, our friends at Element, and our partners at A24, to see this amazing story start to come to life.”

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