Wharfedale actors to be in new BBC show

Ilkley Gazette: A scene from the BBC’s Great Train Robbery, in which local actors star, to be aired this week A scene from the BBC’s Great Train Robbery, in which local actors star, to be aired this week

The leading lights of local theatre and a council chamber rubbed shoulders with big names in a BBC dramatisation of the Great Train Robbery, coming to television screens next week.

Viewers watching the two-part BBC1 drama could recognise a few faces from stage productions in Guiseley, as well as Ilkley residents, including a Bradford councillor and her husband.

Much of the drama was filmed at various locations in Leeds, with some scenes shot in Haworth at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, and Kirkgate Market in Bradford.

Local people got involved via Paula McKie, of Ben Rhydding-based Agency Oakroyd, who was looking for people to play dozens of small roles in the programme.

Guiseley Amateur Operatic Society members, John Waite, George Phillips – both of Guiseley – and Darran Sykes from Leeds, were selected to play support roles as uniformed and plainclothes police officers. It was their first time in front of a camera, and none were quite sure what to expect, but Mr Waite said he certainly not expect his first scene to be stepping out of the shadows side by side with Oscar-winning actor Jim Broadbent.

All three were then involved in the incident room, police headquarters and raids on houses and arrests. Mr Waite and Mr Phillips got to drive black 1960 Wolsey police squad cars during a dramatic raid scene.

Producers needed many people to play villains, police officers and members of the public.

Ilkley ward councillor, Anne Hawkesworth, and her husband, John, were among those who played members of the public in some of the scenes filmed.

She is expected to make it into two of the scenes due to be broadcast next week. She said: “I was wearing a black and white check coat and smoking a cigarette – they assure me it was herbal, but I didn’t put it in my mouth, I was just waving it around.”

Mr Hawkesworth is expected to appear in a scene as a city gent wearing a bowler hat.

The first part of this drama, A Robbers Tale, due to air at 8pm on Wednesday, tells the story of how the robbery was planned and executed.

The second part, A Coppers Tale tells how police drafted in a highly specialised team of detectives from Scotland Yard, led by DCS Tommy Butler, played by Jim Broadbent. It will be shown the following night.

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