The Movie Map of Yorkshire

Movie Map of Yorkshire

The films, stars and locations that have put Yorkshire on the movie map…

by Matt Callard

colin firth speaking odsal stadium yorkshire kings speech top hatWhere? Odsal
Colin Firth’s Oscar walkover was partly filmed at Bradford Bulls’ Odsall Stadium. Course, it’s way, way too posh to be proper Yorkshire – but we’re stealing in for a slice of Oscar glory anyway.
Film pedigree: 8/10
Yorkshire pedigree: 1/10

Where? Sheffield
Chris Morris’s dark satire about an incompetent Yorkshire-based terrorist cell was filmed in and around Sheffield, but deserves a special mention for the producers, the soon-to-be-legendary Warp Films, formed by Mark Herbert and Derrin Schlesinger, both from the South Yorkshire capital.
Film pedigree: 7/10
Yorkshire pedigree: 8/10

Where? Leeds
purple tracksuits outside elland road filming leeds united lufcLondoner Tom Hooper braved it Up North in a variety of unglamorous locations for his take on Ossett lad David Peace’s darkly humorous novel about Brian Clough’s doomed 44-day tenure at the helm of Leeds United. The training ground sequence shot in a grimy, stuck-in-time corner of Elland Road with the players in authentically terrifying purple tracksuits is brilliant. Bet he’s back in London now though, eh?
Film pedigree: 7/10
Yorkshire pedigree: 6/10

movie map ripon history james corden playgroundWhere? Ripon
Alan Bennett – sharp translation of his 2004 play, dealing with remembrance, learning, possibilities and adolescent indecision. It’s lovely, actually. Filmed in Ripon – which is also lovely. Stars a young James Corden.
Film pedigree: 8/10
Yorkshire pedigree: 5/10


helen mirren julie walters holding trophyWhere? The Dales
Heartwarming boobs-out wrinkle-fest that has spawned an incredibly successful franchise of touring plays as well as inspiring a million and one get-em-off imitators – all in the good name of charity, of course.
Film pedigree: 6/10
Yorkshire pedigree: 8/10


Where? Goathland
young daniel radcliffe with white owl on arm in harry potter goathlandThe Highest Grossing Movie Franchise in history (yes, more even than ALL the James Bond films put together) shot its very first spool in the quaint Yorkshire village station of Goathland, near Scarborough. Remember the kids running through the wall at platform 9¾ and disembarking at ‘Hogsmeade’ – well that there’s Goathland. Grassington Moor and Malham cove feature in The Deathly Hallows too! We’re famous!
Film pedigree: 6/10
Yorkshire pedigree: 3/10

movie map of yorkshire full montyWhere? Sheffield
Oddly knockabout tale of unemployment, sexual malfunction, suicide, depression and dancing in dole queues – only in Yorkshire, eh? Achieves a neat enough uplift in the finale (if you’ll pardon the expression).
Film pedigree: 6/10
Yorkshire pedigree: 7/10

Where? Grimethorpe
pete postlethwaite famous speech at end of brassed off grimethorpeHonorary Yorkshireman Pete Postlethwaite delivers the performance of his life in a stirring depiction of a mining community’s post-strike decline, with brass band as proud but futile show of defiance. Show me the hard-hearted Tyke that’s not welling up at that impassioned finale… “And for a few lousy bob” indeed.
Film pedigree: 8/10
Yorkshire pedigree: 8/10

Where? The Moors
juliette binoche wuthering heights Hideously overwrought, borderline excruciating version of our Emily’s romantic classic filmed just about everywhere in Yorkshire apart from, it seems, Haworth. Pretend Yorkshire cast (boo!). Good art direction though, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Film pedigree: 2/10
Yorkshire Pedigree: 6/10

Where? Buttershaw
rita sue bob dancing filmCult classic from the great, late Alan Clarke that invented Shameless, Shane Meadows, Paul Calf and just about any British drama that enjoys having the words ‘gritty realism’ as a description. In reality it’s very funny, underscored by two outrageously raucous performances from the irrepressible Rita and Sue. Written by Bradford’s late, great, Andrea Dunbar.
Film pedigree: 9/10
Yorkshire pedigree: 8/10

Where? Ilkley
a-private-function-yorkshireAuthentic Yorkshire credentials with Alan Bennett (Leeds) again scribing and Michael Palin (Sheffield) starring, this peculiarly English comedy of manners is, perhaps rather unfairly, remembered for a scene stealing pig. The ‘small northern town’ was Ilkley, no less.
Film pedigree: 5/10
Yorkshire pedigree: 7/10

AGATHA (1979)
Where? Harrogate
dustin hoffman in agatha harrogateThesp big hitters Dustin Hoffman and Vanessa Redgrave weigh in for the unsolved tale of crime writer Agatha Christie’s mysterious 11-day disappearance and subsequent reappearance, apparently none the worse for wear, in a Harrogate health spa. Stylised and sophisticated, Harrogate’s The Old Swan, where Christie turned up, features.
Film pedigree: 7/10
Yorkshire Pedigree: 6/10

KES (1969)
Where? Barnsley
kes leaning against wall barnsleyStill the definitive Yorkshire film. Ken Loach’s note perfect conversion of Barnsley maestro Barry Hines tale of emotional childhood neglect redeemed by a spot of falconry. Possibly best remembered for Sheffield heavyweight Brian Glover’s barnstorming turn as the games teacher bully from hell. Magnificently, so strong are some of the accents here, the film had to be subtitled in the States.
Film pedigree: 9/10
Yorkshire pedigree: 10/10

Where? Bradford
speaking on phone in billy liarMovie magic with Yorkshire royalty in tow. Keith Waterhouse (Leeds) wrote the book, Wilfred Pickles (Halifax) – the first newsreader to speak in a regional accent, lest we forget – stars and Tom Courtenay (Hull) delivers the finest northerner-dreaming-of-the-bright-lights performance in cinema history. An early swear word too! How very northern.
Film pedigree: 8/10
Yorkshire pedigree: 9/10

Where? Wakefield
richard harris in this sporting lifeWakefield writer David Storey’s tale of a successful Rugby League player with a less than successful love life has earned its place in Yorkshire folklore mainly down to Richard Harris’ turn as bitter young coal miner turned rugby hopeful, Frank Machin. Bleak and brutal, violent and loveless – it’s grim up north, apparently.
Film pedigree: 8/10
Yorkshire pedigree: 9/10

Where? Hebden Bridge
a boy girl bike creditsEarly fifties timepiece with a great period Brit cast (Diana Dors, Honor Blackman, Anthony Newley, Thora Hird), most of them achieving passable Up North accents (yes, even Thora). Yorkshire cycling club gets embroiled in illegal bookmaking web of thorns thanks to bloke in flash car – wouldn’t you just know it. Worth a watch, even if it’s just to see lovely Hebden Bridge pre-traffic calming initiatives.
Film pedigree: 6/10
Yorkshire pedigree: 6/10

Where? Roundhay
roundhay garden scene louis le princeIt’s not exactly Inception but Louis Le Prince’s flaky, stuttering footage of some Roundhay folks and flowers fluttering in the black-and-white Yorkshire breeze is where cinema began. We cover his strange debt-ridden disappearance here and we’re STILL awaiting the movie adaptation of that particular mystery.
Film pedigree: either 1/10 or 10/10, depending on your perspective.
Yorkshire pedigree: 5/10



  1. Anne B 1 August, 2018 at 22:37 Reply

    Another well known film with Kevin Costner ; Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves (1991 ?).
    The scene where Robin Hood and Big John fight when they first meet, over some water, with logs….. this was filmed at Aysgarth Falls in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire.

  2. Paul Howard 20 November, 2016 at 10:42 Reply

    Great list! Here’s another suggestion: Wetherby by David Hare. starred Dame Judi, Vanessa Redgrave, Ian Holm, Joely Richardson, Tom Wilkinson and more, back in 1985. Feat. Harrogate GS, Knaresboro and Wetherby. Best scene features the Hyde Park cinema in Headingley, Leeds. In fact, the world premiere was shown there!! ….I woz there! Good film too …, seems largely forgotten film now.

  3. Charles Hindmarsh 19 April, 2013 at 21:24 Reply

    I like the movie map. There are two extra films you need to add to your list. 1. Asylum which was filmed inside High Royds Hospital in Menston outside Leeds. The film starred Sir Ian McKellen, Natasha Richardson and Hugh Bonneville and I was a tuba player in a made up Salvation Army Band playing for the Christmas Ball.
    The other film is the 2010 BBC Symphony for Yorkshire day by the composer and director Benjamin Till. I was playing a musical saw in the mud flats under the Humber Bridge.

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.