Downton Abbey and This Is England stars in first look at new BBC drama

sophie mcshera michael socha, the gallows pole
Downton star in first-look photos for BBC dramaBBC

The first images for The Gallows Pole, the new BBC drama starring This Is England's Michael Socha and Downton Abbey's Sophie McShera, have been released.

The three-part series, which is being made by acclaimed director Shane Meadows, is based on the novel of the same name by Benjamin Myers.

It tells the true story of the Cragg Vale Coiners and is set in 18th-century Yorkshire.

The series, which will air on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer, follows the "enigmatic David Hartley (Michael) as he assembles a gang of weavers and land-workers to embark upon a revolutionary criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy and become the biggest fraud in British history".

In addition to Michael Socha and Sophie McShera, the cast for the series also includes Thomas Turgoose (This Is England), Yusra Warsama (Castle Rock), Anthony Welsh (Master of None) and Ralph Ineson (Game of Thrones, The Northman).

Speaking about the project, 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.

"[This] allowed us to understand why the Cragg Vale Coiners did what they did and [also] fall in love with them a smidge while they did it.

"It may have turned into one of the biggest crimes in British history, but it was pulled off by a bunch of destitute farmers and weavers doing what they had to to survive, and I think people will resonate with that.

"You can tell a story in any century if you care about the characters, but there was something so attractive about this period in British history.

"Large mouthfuls of West Yorkshire were about to be inhaled by the Industrial Revolution – our country and its unspoilt sides [were] set to change forever.

"So it was an honour to be able to go back and hold up a magnifying glass to some of the dudes that were living through it," he concluded.

The Gallows Pole will air on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer later this year.

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