Hawthorn Leisure’s Fleece Inn has starring role in new BBC drama Gentleman Jack
Hawthorn Leisure pub The Fleece Inn has made a starring role appearance in new BBC period drama Gentleman Jack.
The first episode of the eight-part series, which features former Coronation Street star Suranne Jones, was broadcast on BBC One, last night (Sunday).
The Fleece Inn, in Westgate, Elland, near Halifax, was used as the location for a five-minute-long scene in the opening episode of the costume drama, which tells the story of Anne Lister, the lesbian Yorkshire landowner, diarist and world traveller, who lived from 1791-1840.
Reputedly England’s most haunted pub, the 400-year-old West Yorkshire venue dates from 1610, and has been run by pub partner Christine Watson and her eight-strong team for three years.
“Elland is a small market town,” said Christine, “and everyone was very excited that The Fleece Inn was to feature in the series. It’s created a real buzz around the place, and people were really looking forward to watching the first episode, at the weekend.
“We had to close the pub while filming took place, last June, and it was stripped back to how it would have looked in 1830, with all modern features hidden or disguised. Filming took place in the main part of the pub, and, once completed, everything was restored to how it is usually. How they do it is all quite impressive, and very slick.
“Hopefully, people who become fans of the series will want to come to The Fleece Inn to see one of the locations for themselves, and while they’re here they can enjoy and drink and a meal.”
Joining BAFTA award winner Suranne Jones, who also starred in Doctor Foster and Save Me, is former Bodyguard and Peaky Blinders actor Sophie Rundle, who plays Ann Walker, the wealthy heiress who Anne Lister sets her sights on marrying.
Gentleman Jack was written and directed by Sally Wainwright, who was among the production team that visited The Fleece Inn to check its suitability as a location and, as director, was present during filming.
As well as its latest role, The Fleece Inn has also appeared in TV ghost-hunting programme Most Haunted.
Hawthorn Leisure managing director of operations Mark McGinty said: “It’s wonderful to see one of our pubs have a starring role in a major new BBC series, and it would be great if Christine benefits, with fans visiting one of the locations.
“Christine and her team continue to do a superb job of running The Fleece Inn, which, even before its latest TV appearance, had an enviable reputation as a great pub to visit, situated as it is in Calderdale, and offering top quality food and drink.”
Planning permission has been granted to restore a 256-year old Oxfordshire village pub badly damaged by fire just a week before Christmas.