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Batley's the star in new BBC drama

HUDDLING against a construction site fence at the bottom of Dewsbury market might not be the most glamorous location for a star interview.

But actress Anne Reid couldn't have been happier. "I love being back in the north," said the Dinnerladies star. "London is so dirty."

And the venue for the next chat – with former Coronation Street star Suranne Jones – was equally unusual. We talked in her trailer in the car park of the Frontier club in Bradford Road, Batley.

Together – and helped by scenes in Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford – Batley and Dewsbury turned into the fictional Yorkshire town which acts as the centre for the gripping five-parter.

Dewsbury market place was used for the final scenes, attracting scores of onlookers as the cameras rolled in October.

Producer Caroline Skinner is more than happy with the choice of location. She said: "Dewsbury has been fantastic. A perfect backdrop as a fictional place with an Asian community."

Caroline describes the drama as 'a sprawling piece'.

It starts with two incidents – a Transpennine train being stopped by someone jumping on to the line, and a baby being found abandoned at a hospital – which trigger a chain of events connecting the main characters.

EastEnders actress Pooky Quesnel, who plays a cleaner called Maureen, said: "This is a drama with a complex, multi-strand plot. It weaves in and out."

Caroline is clearly proud of the cast of the drama, written by Gwyneth Hughes, which includes Anne, Suranne, David Morrissey and Bernard Hill.

And the stars are more than happy to be involved – possibly none more so than Suranne's pet Jack Russell dog Baxter, who accompanies her on set whenever possible.

"They cast Baxter before they cast me," joked the actress, who shot to fame as loud-mouthed Karen McDonald in Corrie. "The producers didn't so much want me as want Baxter. They even thought they might have to create a part for him."

Suranne plays Laurie Franklin, a detective in the Met who takes a demotion to return to Yorkshire to care for her mother (Anne Reid) who is suffering dementia.

It's Anne's first time in Dewsbury, but as someone who's lived in Manchester for 33 years, she said: "I am so much more at home in the north. I like the people, they have such a sense of humour and the landscape is gorgeous."

l Five Days will be broadcast on BBC One Monday to Friday at 9pm.

 
 
 

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