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Room at the Top comes home to its West Yorkshire roots
Simone Signoret
Simone Signoret was one of the stars of the original Room at the Top

A new adaptation of British film classic Room at the Top is being shot at locations around West Yorkshire.

Based on a novel by Bingley author John Braine, the film was originally a big screen hit in 1959.

Just like its 1950s incarnation, filming is again taking place on the streets of West Yorkshire.

Kate Triggs, co-producer of the new adaptation, said: "It is a really universal story that finds a place in any period of time."

Room at the Top, which was originally published in 1957, was a love story about a young man in a Yorkshire town who hurt himself and others in pursuit of his ambition.

Set in the 1940s, John Braine's novel told the story of Joe Lampton, a man fighting to shake off his working class origins.

Post-war icon

It instantly caught the public's imagination and turned Joe Lampton into an icon of post-war Britain.

Kate Triggs said the new version now being filmed for BBC 4 would stay very close to the original story: "It is very faithful to the book. It is such a good story that it would seem rather strange to alter it.

Halifax Town Hall
Halifax Town Hall was transformed into Warnley Town Hall for the film

"I suppose the differences are that we have gone back to the age of the characters in the book who were actually slightly younger than in the film."

Adapted by Amanda Coe, the new BBC 4 production of Room at the Top will be the first screen version of the book since the 1959 movie which cast Laurence Harvey and Simone Signoret in the lead roles.

Co-producer Kate Triggs said while the legendary film was very much a product of the 1950s, the latest BBC adaptation being filmed in West Yorkshire returned to the era the book was set in.

She said: "The period of the book is right after the Second World War in 1948. It is not really a 1950s book at all, though the film felt very 1950s.

"We are looking at the period when rationing was hitting people very hard and it was a very cold winter - just like the one we are having now."

Halifax transformed

The original silver screen version of Room at the Top featured many scenes shot in Halifax, Bradford and other parts of West Yorkshire.

Halifax was transformed into the fictional towns of Warnley and Dufton with the town's railway station acting as Warnley Station and Halifax Town Hall becoming Warnley Town Hall.

Kate Triggs said filming of the new BBC adaptation had returned to old haunts: "We have been filming in Leeds and in Halifax so we have been around and about."

It brings all the shock value that the piece had at the time right up to the present day
Kate Triggs, Room at the Top co-producer

The new two-part adaptation is expected to hit the small screen on BBC 4 in Spring 2011 as part of a season exploring love and sexuality in 20th century literature.

Kate Triggs said she hoped this new version would compare well to the film classic: "Amanda Coe is a very established writer and she has done an excellent adaptation.

"I think it brings all the shock value that the piece had at the time right up to the present day."




SEE ALSO
The return of Room at the Top
10 Nov 10 |  Arts & Culture
Bradford's 'city of film' honour
12 Jun 09 |  Bradford

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