BBC axes drama in rights row

Shelved: BBC Four drama Room at the Top
Shelved: BBC Four drama Room at the Top

A TV drama filmed in Calderdale has been cancelled by the BBC because of a row over publishing rights.

Room at the Top, a new adaptation of the literary classic by Bradford author John Braine, had to be pulled from its scheduled slot on BBC Four at the last minute.

Scenes were shot for the two-part serial at Shaw Lodge Mills, Halifax, and Todmorden Hippodrome late last year, with a cast including Maxine Peake and Matthew McNulty.

Great Meadow Productions had bought the rights with the blessing of the Mr Braine’s widow Pat, 79, who receives the royalties from his work.

But now a third party has claimed to own the rights, forcing the BBC to shelve the drama.

A spokesman for the corporation said: “Room at the Top was postponed so we could address a potential contractual issue which emerged just a few days before the programme was due to transmit.”

Bosses hope that the programme can be rescheduled once the problem is resolved.

The story is set in 1940s Yorkshire and charts the ruthless social climb of Joe Lampton, a young working class northerner. It became a literary sensation when it was published in 1957 and turned its “angry young man” hero into an icon of post-war Britain.

The novel was adapted into an Oscar-winning film with Lawrence Harvey in 1959, which also featured a number of scenes shot in Halifax.

The train station and town hall were both used as locations in the fictional town of Warnley.