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The Yorkshire Dales and the Silver Screen

Friday 13 January 2006

The Yorkshire Dales has seen a resurgence in recent times as a location for film and television. As the latest – The Real Emmerdale - came to a close last night we take a look at just a few of the roles played by the dales on our television and cinema screens over the years.

The awe inducing landscape of the Yorkshire Dales has inspired authors, poets and painters for centuries, now it's inspiring modern artists, those whose canvas is cellulite. Varied and numerous are the roles played by the dales on our TV and cinema screens over the years.

Aside from the stunning scenery, dales folk themselves and their funny, sometimes poignant stories can prove rich pickings for film makers. The hit film Calendar Girls, inspired by the ladies of the Rylstone WI baring all for charity was filmed at sites around the Yorkshire Dales including Kettlewell and Burnsall and was the hit of 2003.

Due to its status as a National Park much of the Yorkshire Dales remains unspoilt and provides the perfect setting for period dramas. Aysgarth Falls is where Kevin Costner's Robin of Locksley fought with Little John in the 1991 film "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves".

Bolton Abbey in Southern Wharfedale
Bolton Abbey - Photo: boltonabbey.com

Set in the mid 1800's, The Water-Babies (1978) is a half live-action, half animated feature based on Charles Kingsley's children's novel. Shot partly on location in Wharfedale, The Strid is where young chimney sweep Tom famously falls in to the River Wharfe and meets a whole host of underwater characters.

Based on A.S. Byatt's 1990 novel of the same title and starring Gwyneth Paltrow in a tale of love and passion, "Possession" was filmed partly on location at Bolton Abbey in Southern Wharfedale. The film features at one point a magnificent shot of the 12th century Priory ruins.

Gordale Scar
Gordale Scar, Malham

2005 was another year when the Yorkshire Dales has made its fair share of appearances on our screens.

David Dimbleby passed through the Dales in the BBC series "A Picture of Britain". He visited Gordale Scar and told us of James Ward's canvas interpretation of the beauty spot.

Ilkley Lad Alan Titchmarsh took us on a fascinating journey through the Dales in "The British Isles: A Natural History". As Alan traversed the region taking in wonders such as Kilnsey Crag, Gordale Scar and Stump Cross Caverns, we discovered that the Yorkshire Dales was once a sea with Coral Reefs.

Towards the end of the year a production took to our screens across the ITV Yorkshire region which is filmed and produced by people who actually live here in the Dales. Made by Grassington based Cheeky Monkey Films, the 8 part series "The Real Emmerdale" gave us an insight in to the lives of Dales folk across a twelve month period and follows on from the company's previous production "The Silence of the Lambs" which highlighted the economic and personal aftermath of the 2001 Foot and Mouth disease crisis.

With the emergence of Screen Yorkshire over the last few years our region now has a champion dedicated to bringing broadcast industry to the North, and with the success of productions like "Calendar Girls" location managers are now seeing the full potential of the Dales as a possible setting. With developments such as these and continuing investment it seems likely that the Yorkshire Dales will continue to play a starring role in the years to come.

If you know of other places in the Dales featured on our screens, then please let us know, using the form below.





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