Yorkshire’s Grand Depart story could be relived in new feature film

The peloton rides up Main Street as stage two of the Tour de France passes through Haworth. Picture by Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
The peloton rides up Main Street as stage two of the Tour de France passes through Haworth. Picture by Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
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Yorkshire’s epic Tour de France story could be set for the big screen, after Tour bidders Welcome to Yorkshire held talks with a team of high-profile scriptwriters.

Gary Verity, chief executive of the tourism agency, has exclusively told the YEP that British scriptwriters are hoping to turn the story behind the county’s Tour bid into a feature film.

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We understand that the film would be a British comedy in the same vein as Golden Globe-nominated Calendar Girls, and Screen Yorkshire, Creative England and the British Film Institute are believed to have been involved in early talks.

The silver screen announcement comes as Yorkshire is set to say a final farewell to the grandest Grand Depart in Tour de France history today, when it officially hands over the Grand Depart Trophy to delegates from Utrecht, Holland, where next year’s Tour will start.

“We’ve had a meeting with people wanting to write a film on how we got this event,” Mr Verity told the YEP. “It’s quite remarkable. The first thing is for these people to go ahead and write the screenplay, so these things take a long time but we will see.”

Scriptwriters are expected to return to Yorkshire in the next few weeks as they continue work on a script but an investor would be needed to fund any film.

A Welcome to Yorkshire spokeswoman said it is an “ambitious project” which could take several years to hit the screens.

A team of Yorkshire delegates has travelled to Paris to discuss the success of the 2014 Grand Depart, which was witnessed by 3.8million roadside spectators from July 5 to 7, at today’s handover at the Palais de Congrés.

The Yorkshire team will hand over the Grand Depart Trophy to Utrecht as the 2015 Tour routes are unveiled, before discussing Tour of Yorkshire routes with partners and Tour owners ASO in talks behind closed doors.

Mr Verity said: “It seems like only yesterday we were in Paris telling the world about what Yorkshire had in store for the Tour. Now, a year on, we officially hand over to Utrecht for their Grand Depart and reflect on the historic event Yorkshire hosted that has not only written us into the history books as the grandest ever Grand Depart, but promoted the county of Yorkshire to the world on a scale.”

The three-day Tour of Yorkshire, which is on the UCI 2015 calendar from May 1 to 3, will take place over the next three years. Organisers have hinted that the east coast and North York Moors could be involved.

Sally Joynson, Screen Yorkshire chief executive, added: “We have spoken to the writers but the project is still at a very early stage.”

YORKSHIRE ON SCREEN

The rolling hills of Yorkshire and its thriving communities have inspired countless movies.

The 1996 film Brassed Off, starring Ewan McGregor, and the acclaimed Calendar Girls, acted out by the likes of Julie Walters and Dame Helen Mirren, have told some of the county’s most revered tales.

And Yorkshire still has that A-list pull, with the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones signing up for the Dad’s Army feature film, while Hollywood stars Drew Barrymore and Sigourney Weaver have been filming in Ilkley and Huddersfield respectively in recent weeks.

Emily Turner, an outreach worker with the Basis Sex Work Project, who support sex workers in the managed zone in Holbeck. Picture Tony Johnson.

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