Ribblehead Viaduct inspires new ITV drama set in the Dales

One of the shanty towns built during the construction of the Settle-Carlisle railway line is to be recreated as the setting of a new television drama series.

Jericho was one of the large camps built to accommodate the more than 6,000 navvies who built the line and the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct.

The shantytown will be the focus of the new period drama, also called Jericho, starring Jessica Raine, Hans Matheson and Clarke Peters, and will be set in the 1870s when the viaduct was under construction.

Filming of Jericho will begin in Yorkshire later this month. Exact locations have not yet been confirmed, however the Barnsley Chronicle reports that the town of Jericho is being constructed in farmland at Wortley, South Yorkshire. Contrary to this, ITV has said, “The drama will go into production later this month (May 2015) in North Yorkshire.”


Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle-Carlisle line

An ITV spokesman explained, “One of the central characters is Annie Quaintain, played by Jessica Raine (Fortitude, Wolf Hall, Call the Midwife), a woman who refuses to let tragedy define her. Shattered by her husband’s death and penniless as he has gambled away everything they owned, Annie is turfed out of her home and shunned by former friends and neighbours. Together with her two teenage children, Annie leaves for Jericho in the hopes of re-building their lives.

Disembarking from the train at the end of the line, they carry their meagre possessions across a wild terrain. As they reach the brow of a hill a sprawling collection of awnings and huts, bustling with life, lies before them. Beyond that, rising up from the floor of the valley the first two arches of a magnificent railway viaduct teeming with muscled workers. The backbreaking work looks surprisingly majestic as they blast the foundations for the next two arches.

The terrain is hostile and if the land doesn’t break the colourful community of men and women – navvies, entrepreneurs, street urchins, prostitutes, families, wives, girlfriends and lovers – it will take seven years to complete.”

Jericho is created and written by Steve Thompson (Sherlock, Doctor Who) and executive produced by ITV Studios Director of Drama Kate Bartlett (Vera, Marchlands). BAFTA nominated director Paul Whittington (Cilla, Mrs Biggs, The Widower) will direct the series. Lisa Osborne (Little Dorrit, South Riding, Quirke) will produce.

“We’re delighted to be embarking on the production of Jericho, an epic character driven drama set in the visually striking landscape of a frontier community.  We’re also thrilled that we have a wonderful cast with Jessica Raine, Hans Matheson and Clarke Peters in the leading roles,” said executive producer Kate Bartlett.

Jericho has been commissioned for ITV by Director of Drama Steve November and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea.

“Jericho focuses on the creation of a community from nothing and the human stories and epic struggles of survival that will emerge,” said Steve. “We’re grateful to Steve Thompson for creating such wonderful and intriguing characters and to Kate Bartlett and her production team.”

ITV Studios Global Entertainment will distribute Jericho internationally.

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