Last Tango in Halifax’s love story began in Brooksbank School

TV hit: Last Tango In Halifax
TV hit: Last Tango In Halifax
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Readers may have watched the drama series on television called Last Tango In Halifax.

It’s a heart-warming love story about two people in their mid-70s who were teenage sweethearts. Viewers may have smiled when they heard the names of Stainland, Barkisland and Elland which peppered the script, but did you know that the story has direct connections to The Brooksbank School in Elland?

The teenage sweethearts, played by veteran actors Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi, met during their schooldays at the school, which was known as Elland Grammar School in those days. The story begins when they make contact with each other on Facebook (or Friends Reunited to be more accurate) more than 60 years later.

The series was written by script writer Sally Wainwright, who was born in Huddersfield and has written for many shows, including Coronation Street and Emmerdale. Sally has revealed in media interviews that the plot for Last Tango In Halifax was based on the real-life story of her mother Dorothy - who went to Elland Grammar School in the 1940s.

Professional genealogist Roy Stockdill is also a former pupil of the school. Roy said: “Following the death of Dorothy’s husband (Sally’s father) in 2001, Dorothy’s details were added to Friends Reunited. Teenage sweetheart Alec Walker spotted Dorothy and got in touch. They met up and were married within six months in 2005. They spent three happy years together until Alec sadly died.

Speaking about her part as Dorothy, Anne Reid said: “I had one of the best times in my career doing it. Last Tango is about real people with truth as its backbone. It has humour and drama and original, interesting characters. I’m very proud to be in it.”