|01 October 2008
By Vicki Robinson
Filming is under way on three new films set in one of the darkest periods in Yorkshire's history. We report from a location shoot that is not all it seems.
THE caramel-coloured Rover with a long-expired tax disc offers the first clue.
Coppers furiously puffing on cigarettes and wearing clothes in fashion when the Bay City Rollers ruled the charts is another.
This is not, it seems, an estate in Doncaster in late 2008.
It is, instead, Fitzwilliam, Pontefract, in 1974.
The reason? The estate is a location for scenes that will form part of one of the most eagerly-awaited crime dramas of recent years.
Channel 4 is filming three adaptations of Ossett-born author David Peace's acclaimed Red Riding novels – Nineteen Seventy Four, Nineteen Eighty and Nineteen Eighty Three.
They set an epic tale of police and council corruption against the backdrop of Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe's reign of terror.
Nineteen Seventy Four also follows the harrowing story of missing schoolgirls and a Yorkshire Evening Post reporter's quest to discover the truth.
The project has attracted an all-star cast, some of whom were on set this week.
David Morrissey, star of Blackpool and State of Play and rumoured to be the new Doctor Who, was filming a flashback scene with Warren Clarke (Dalziel and Pascoe), both of whom play crooked cops.
Hollywood actor Sean Bean plays a property magnate (John Dawson) with dubious connections to the police; Bourne Ultimatum actor Paddy Considine (Assistant Chief Constable Peter Hunter); Full Monty star Mark Addy (solicitor John Piggott); and The Other Boleyn Girl actor Andrew Garfield (reporter Eddie Dunford).
Top film directors Julian Jarrod (Brideshead Revisited), James Marsh (Man on Wire) and Arnand Tucker (Hilary and Jackie) make a rare move to the small screen, each directing one of the two-hour films.
The executive producer is Andrew Eaton, whose Revolution Films made the acclaimed film Road to Guantanamo.
He told the YEP: "We have attracted big name actors, first because of the scripts and the quality of the writing, then there are three really fantastic directors, who are really well respected.
"The background to the stories is quite dark but that's true of most crime stories. The key is to make them realistic and believable."
Anand Tucker, who directs Nineteen Eighty Three, said: "The books are extraordinary and amazing. Tony Grisoni has done a brilliant job of turning them into films.
"They are utterly compelling stories. They are really dark, but very moving and they are all about the internal emotional nuances of people. They transcend the police genre.
"The books remind me of the best of James Ellory writings or (US tv show] The Wire. I'm a big fan of that - it's a great piece of modern contemporary culture.
"They feel epic but without being pretentious and that is the same feel we are trying to create."
Dozens of places across Yorkshire have been used in filming.
They include Leeds Civic Hall which doubles as the Marmaville Club; a redundant restaurant in Bradford, as the Karachi social club, a luxurious home in Harrogate as John Dawson's plush home Shangri-la and even the YEP building on Wellington Street, transformed into Wakefield Police station.
The spots were scouted by location manager Charlie Thompson, who also worked on the film of Peace's The Damned Utd, about Brian Clough's 44 days as Leeds United manager.
Co-producer Anita Overland said: "Almost all of the filming is being done on location.
"To do all that and bring it in within budget" – about £1m each film – "has been a massive undertaking.
"A lot of the places in the books don't exist any more so we have had to research what they would have been like at that time and try to find suitable alternatives.
"For these scenes we did go to Fitzwilliam but it wasn't right for our shoot so we've kind of recreated our interpretation of what it was like in the 1970s here.
"Unfortunately, we've had to mess it up a little bit!"
Red Riding will be filming until the end of October and will be shown on Channel 4 in the spring.
|Yorkshire Evening Post