The Gallows Pole (2023-?)

TV Show/ Drama/ History
Rated 15
BBC iPlayer
Spoiler Free

From its fantastic opening credits, and given its talented cast and wonderful director, Shane Meadows (Dead Man’s Shoes, This is England), I was certain I’d love The Gallows Pole. It is a period piece with a contemporary leaning like, yes, Peaky Blinders. I somewhat apologise for putting that buzzword in but conversely don’t because it isn’t a cynical one; there’s a lot about The Gallows Pole which channels the Shelby phenomena.

The Gallows Pole is set in the 1700’s, it did say on screen but I’m not flawless and IMDb and Wikipedia are piss all help so perhaps I’m not alone in not knowing precisely. Anyway, industrialisation and all that- it was bad if you were poor. Many of the Meadows regulars return as the almost dead David Hartley staggers back into his impoverished village with a vision to rob from the rich and give to the poor.

He's never going to do lavish, Shane Meadows, and I think that's for the best. The Gallows Pole is superbly acted with wonderful and prevalent folk music, though progressively of the now. However, this odd mix of drama, comedy and the surreal is, much like Meadows other work, so wonderfully very, very English; going so far as to feature a Boat race! Of the drinking kind, naturally.

Boisterous, sweary and boasting the flippant, dismissive humour the north excels in, The Gallows Pole had me glued to the scam David and his motley crew were trying to pull off, but it took a little bit of time getting going. Despite that at the halfway point I was loving it, it's a bit of everything, I can’t wait for the next three episodes...

Bedsit it?

Oh, wait, that was all of it? That changes my opinion, if I’m right and The Gallows Pole does end after its third episode I’m more than a little frustrated. Here’s a show which while excellent feels unfinished. What a shame because it has so much more scope for its story and characters. Only because of its brevity 7/10. Watch it, but be prepared.

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