It has been labelled a Yorkshire Western.
And there are many scenes in the new ITV drama series Jericho that live up to the billing.
Set in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1870s, the drama from production company, ITV Studios, will focus upon the shantytown of Jericho, home to a community that will live, thrive and die in the shadow of the viaduct they’ve been brought together to build.
It’s a story that will be of enormous interest to people in Huddersfield, as much of the filming was done in and around the town.
But the main setting for the shanty town that was named Jericho was a former quarry.
Rockingstone Quarry is between Outlane and Scapegoat Hill and is owned by Huddersfield stone firm Johnsons Wellfield.
They allowed film crews to take it over for several months and Kirklees Council gave production teams permission to build the shanty town set.
The viaduct that the pioneers were building was based on the famous Ribblehead Viaduct.
The director is Paul Whittington, the man behind dramas as Cilla and The Widower, and the show was created by Steve Thompson, .
Thompson told Radio Times: “It is I suppose like a British western. The western is a very broad church because we have seen some very violent westerns like those by Sam Peckinpah but also Little House on the Prairie is a western too. So that is quite a wide spectrum.
“I was inspired by westerns like Shane, which are not about cowboys, they are about settlers and the people, specifically about the woman being central to that and the family’s life. Shane I think was a huge inspiration. So yes there are aspects of it.
“But for me what is exciting is that I have never seen a British western or a British frontier story. Actually there was a frontier, they did go out and conquer the frontier. I think the originality of that is very exciting.”
The town is in an area called Culverdale and in the opening 90-minute episode, it’s the destination for widow Anne Quintain, played by Call The Midwife star Jessica Raine.
Annie is turned out of her home in 1874 when her husband’s death leaves her penniless.
She hears of jobs going in Culverdale and sets off for a new lfie there with her children.
An ITV spokesman said: “Jericho is rough and ready, bustling with life and a wild, carnival-like atmosphere.
“Life there is tough and Annie wonders how she’ll make ends meet.
“She manages to find a roof for her family but at a price - she is forced to take in grubby and rowdy navvy workmen as lodgers”.
Among those Annie first meets in Jericho is Ralph Coates, played by Clarke Peters (The Wire, Notting Hill, Marley & Me). He is a self-styled railway agent whose finest skill is reading other people and seeing beneath their façade. The truth is he has a past that keeps him looking over his shoulder.
He offers Annie a helping hand, and although reluctant, she accepts.
Typical of the men toiling at the bedrock is gang leader ‘Happy’ Jack Laggan, the burly, craggy faced, cracked voice navvy labourer played by Dean Andrews (Last Tango in Halifax, Ashes to Ashes). ‘Happy’ Jack takes no prisoners and works hard for his money.
READ MORE: Filming in Huddersfield for ITV period drama Jericho due to begin in January - watch the trailer here
Jericho’s resident prostitute Lace Polly, played by Lorraine Ashbourne (The Syndicate, Public Enemies, The Street) is also a neighbour. Her lace and fineries will dazzle Annie’s daughter Martha, played by Amy James-Kelly (Coronation Street) and her choice of livelihood will give Annie something to struggle with.
The film crews spent many months in Huddersfield, working alongside North light film Studios who sourced many of the locations.
North light’s Ben Sweet said: “It is another huge coupe for Huddersfield’s reputation for film and TV dramas.
“And it would be great if the series was a success and a second was commissioned”.
The first of eight episodes is on ITV on Thursday, January 7 at 9pm.