By Emma McGladdery
Different parts of Kirklees have been used as filming locations for a handful of productions, more famously you may remember Last of the Summer Wine (1973 – 2010) which ran for a whopping 31 seasons.
The sitcom, filmed locally in Holmfirth, was popular among local audiences but reached further afield after being broadcast in 25 other countries. After 37 years on the air, Last of the Summer Wine became the world’s longest-running sitcom.
However, it’s not only Last of the Summer Wine that gave Kirklees its much-needed television representation. There are tons more high-end television productions and films that have used Kirklees as its on-screen home; BBC’s crime-drama Happy Valley (2014 -) and ITV’s Detective Mini-series Black Work (2015) are notable examples.
Both filmed in and around Huddersfield, with Black Work using central locations such as the old Kirklees College, acting as a setting for a murder scene. The old college provided a dark, cold, and eerie backdrop for the storyline.
Aside from using Kirklees as its prime location, there have also been a few favourable television shows that have used Kirklees as secondary locations, appearing in only a few scenes.
BBC’s Gentleman Jack (2019 -) starring Suranne Jones used the Lawrence Batley Theatre as a bank exterior for its 1800’s themed series and ITV’s Mini-series Unforgiven (2009), also starring Suranne Jones, saw a few noticeable Huddersfield locations on the small screen.
Unforgiven filmed at Storthes Hall Park student village, Kirkburton and The University of Huddersfield for some scenes throughout the three episodes. For this particular television drama, Storthes Hall stood in as a prison, and ironically a student accommodation complex in a later episode.
Interestingly, the local university campus stood in as the University of York. On-screen, its visibly the University of Huddersfield with the Creative Arts building and St. Pauls Hall making an appearance, but signs titled “University of York” are covering any Huddersfield signs.
Another TV gem you may remember recently watching is Sky’s political drama Cobra (2020) which used Huddersfield’s iconic Grade II listed building, the George Hotel as an interior and exterior for a few scenes.
All for the production, the building was ‘set alight’ by the filming crew. For the dramatic scenes, fire crews were on standby as a precaution, and local Huddersfield businesses were told not to be alarmed at the time if they saw smoke.
Lastly, we must give an honourable mention to some of the bigger screened productions that were filmed right here in Kirklees. Most notably, Walk like a Panther (2018), A Monster Calls (2016), Jamaica Inn (2014), and Adult Life Skills (2016). Adult Life Skills is most worthy of mention here; the indie hit that scored a solid 6.2/10 rating on IMDB stars Huddersfield’s own Jodie Whittaker and filmed at locations such as, Scammonden Water Sailing club for quite a large chunk of the film.
The Yorkshire based film is based on the short film Emotional Fusebox (2014) also starring Jodie Whittaker. Adult Life Skills, written and directed by Rachel Tunnard, was rated highly internationally, and even went as far as winning an award at the New York Film Festival in 2016.
If you are interested in seeing Huddersfield represented on the big screen, check out Adult life skills on Netflix.
We’re glad Kirklees has started to become recognised on screen, it’s nice to see our small towns and surrounding areas popping up in different productions, on the small screen or the big screen.