the very early years Bradford was certainly the cinematic capital
of Yorkshire (the Riley Brothers made films in Bradford and also
had branches in New York and Boston) but it was a film made in
1963 that really put the city on the movie-making map.
Liar, one of the greatest British films of the 1960s, was shot
entirely on location in Bradford. Tom Courtenay plays Billy, the
undertaker's clerk, a compulsive liar who spends his days fantasising.
The location of Billy's office can still be found in Southgate
- look out for the plaque unveiled by the film¹s director
John Schlesinger in 1996. Undercliffe Cemetery and Bradford's
War and Queen Victoria Memorials are amongst the city centre locations
also used in the film.
steps just off Southgate were used by Billy (Tom Courtenay)
and his mate (Rodney Bewes) in the film
also stars in Room At The Top. Now seen as one of the first of
the British 'kitchen sink' dramas, back in 1959, when it was released,
the film was billed as a "savage story of lust and ambition."
Laurence Harvey stars as 'angry young man,' Joe Lampton, the ambitious
young accountant who gets involved with the boss's daughter as
well as an older, married woman, with tragic consequences. Simone
Signoret won as Oscar for her performance as Lampton's lover.
Some of the most pivotal scenes in the film take place in the
Boy and Barrell pub in James Gate but Ivegate, Kirkgate and Westgate
also feature. The film was based on the novel by Bingley librarian
Courtenay was back in Bradford in 1986, this time with Albert Finney,
to play the title role in The Dresser. Finney is an old-style actor
manager who has brought his touring company of players to a provincial
theatre. The Alhambra provided a splendid location.
recent years Bradford's screen image has often been far from glamorous.
Writer Andrea Dunbar grew up in Buttershaw and the adaptation
of her play, Rita, Sue and Bob Too, about two schoolgirls who
have a fling with a married man, is set there. Band of Gold, a
television drama series about prostitution, was set around Lumb
Lane in Manningham.
was the fame of the Bronte sisters that it was only natural that,
from the beginning, attempts would be made to film their novels
but although they may have lived in Haworth, few of their books
have been filmed in the area. It is unlikely that Laurence Olivier
went much beyond a Holywood lot when he played Heathcliff in what
is still the most celebrated celluloid version of Wuthering Heights,
released in 1939. The Haworth moors were recreated at great expense
amongst Californian hills. However, a later version starring Juliette
Binoche and Ralph Fiennes, did use East Riddlesden Hall, just
outside Keighley, as a location.
Keighley and Worth Valley Railway continues to help movie
makers bring the past to life
was, of course, the 1970 film The Railway Children that ensured
that movie makers would keep on coming back to Keighley. Even
today, when you take a ride on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway,
you may find yourself looking out of the window wondering if a
young Jenny Agutter will run alongside the train, waving. The
railway was used again, to very different effect, by Pink Floyd
and director Alan Parker in the 1982 film, The Wall, derived from
the album of the same name. Born and Bred, starring James Bolam,
has been one of the most recent television productions to use
the railway, even though the series is set in Lancashire.
Dry, scripted by Simon Beaufoy, who also wrote The Full Monty,
sets out to tell the story of a Keighley hairdresser, played by
Alan Rickman, but the film-makers preferred to use locations in
Dewsbury and Batley.
then, of course, there's Emmerdale, the country¹s second-longest
running television soap opera. Over the years many day-trippers
have poured into the village of Esholt hoping to recognise the
odd cottage, and character, or have a drink in the Woolpack. These
days the series is made elsewhere on a closed set.