The Gallows Pole cast, plot, filming locations explained | The Sun

THE Gallows Pole is a BBC drama that brings with it an impressive cast, and is set against a West Yorkshire backdrop.

The three-part BBC Two series is a prequel to the book by Benjamin Myers, and sees writer Shane Meadows fictionalise a remarkable true story.

When is The Gallows Pole released?

The Gallows Poles starts on BBC Two on Wednesday, May 31, 2023.

There are three episodes in the series, each an hour long.

The series will conclude on Wednesday, June 14, 2023.

But if you can't wait, all episodes will be available on the BBC iPlayer after the series launches.

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Who is inthe cast of The Gallows Pole?

Michael Socha as David Harley

Actor Michael Socha plays David Hartley, and looks worlds away from his role in the This is England film and subsequent TV series.

For his The Gallows Pole character, he looks totally different with a full, dark beard and hair.

Speaking about how he prepared for the lead role of David, he told the BBC: "I worked on a farm for a week and learnt how to shear sheep, I did lots of walking around the area, I went to York castle to see where David was locked up, I learnt to clip coins, which I enjoyed doing, it was very satisfying.

"In This is England, I wasn’t in it half as much as I am in this and there’s also a bit more of a character attached to this role. I’m playing somebody who existed, so I’ve also got a back story that was half made for me.

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"Whereas the character I played in This is England was, I suppose, a version of me, I think there are definitely elements of myself here, but in terms of back story, it’s already written."

Thomas Turgoose as William Hartley

Michael reunites with his This is England co-star Thomas Turgoose in the drama, with him playing William Hartley.

The actor is also known for Game of Thrones.

Speaking about reuniting with This Is England director Shane Meadows, and also actor Michael, he told the BBC: "The preparation for the role was an absolute treat, we spent about three months together in Nottingham and we really bonded.

"The gang quickly became ‘The Gang’ and we all felt so comfortable and it was like we’d known each other all our lives.

"That’s what Shane creates in the workshops, not to keep going back to This is England, but it feels very much like that, the gang that we’ve got is very similar in the sense of the friendships and the group chats we’ve got going on, the gossip etc, and it feels real, which will show on camera."

Sophie Mcshera as Grace Hartley

Actress Sophie Mcshera plays David's wife, Grace Hartley.

Speaking about the role, she told the BBC: "In terms of preparation for the role, we had a really extensive audition rehearsal process, so I got to do loads of prep through that.

"I think we first met each other a year or so before we started filming. We did a lot of improvising and we spent time together figuring out our back stories, and everyone spent time bonding within their characters as families and as pairs.

"We all did walks together and walked the places our characters would have walked."

Away from The Gallows Pole she is known for playing Daisy in Downtown Abbey, and also one of the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella.

The cast also includes:

  • Yusra Warsama as Bethsheba
  • Anthony Welsh as Abe Oldfield
  • Samuel Edward-Cook as Isaac Hartley
  • Joe Sproulle as Joe, and Adam Fogerty as James Broadbent.
  • Nicole Barber-Lane plays Susie
  • Fine Time Fontayne portrays Joseph Broadbent
  • Ralph Ineson is The Clothier

What is The Gallows Pole plot?

Set in the moorland hills of 18th Century Yorkshire, is a country divided.

As the aristocracy are building the first cotton mills and factories, the common people are starving.

David Hartley has been away from his family’s remote moor-top dwelling for seven years.

On his journey home to Cragg Vale, West Yorkshire, he gets lost in the moors.

David's dragging a mysterious looking bag of tools with him and on his last legs.

As he’s about to lay down and die, he is saved by six mythical Stag Men who let him know that his work on earth isn’t done yet.

David’s mission is to assemble a gang of weavers and land-workers to embark upon a criminal enterprise to bring comfort and dignity back to his community.

Hidden in the wilderness of the Yorkshire hills and dales, their business is ‘clipping’ – the forging of coins, a treasonous offence punishable by death.

Where was The Gallows Pole filmed?


Sticking to the roots of the plot, The Gallows Pole was mainly filmed in Yorkshire.

Most of the most exterior scenes were shot in the village of Heptonstall, where the real life David Hartley was laid to rest.

Speaking about the BBC drama, writer Shane Meadows said: “I really wanted to delve into the history of this story and the circumstances that lead to an entire West Yorkshire community risking their lives to put food in their children’s bellies."


Despite being set in Yorkshire, the three part drama was also filmed in Nottinghamshire.

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Crews were spotted setting up in various locations across the county.

Filming for The Gallows Pole took place in 2021.

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