THE long-awaited new series of Bafta-winning Last Tango in Halifax features more than 80 children from a Bradford theatre school.

Youngsters from Articulate Drama School are in Sally Wainwright’s much-loved show, returning this month, four years after the last series. One of the children is eight-year-old Tilly Kaye of Birstall who plays Calamity, great grand-daughter of Sir Derek Jacobi’s character, Alan. The cast also includes Bradford actress Rachel Leskovac, and the new series was shot in Ilkley, as well as Calderdale.

Joining Last Tango stars Anne Reid, Derek Jacobi, Sarah Lancashire and Nicola Walker for this week’s preview screening at Halifax’s Square Chapel Arts Centre, Sally said it showcases the region’s beauty. “There are lots of things in production here, it’s great. It is becoming more and more a place to film, because it’s so beautiful.”

She added: “This show never went away. I just had other things on, like writing Gentleman Jack. I had no idea (Last Tango) would be a hit. It’s very telling that a story about two elderly people getting married became so popular. It was initially rejected by big broadcasters who said it was not what people wanted to see.


“It was based very much on what happened to my mum, so it comes from a real place for me, but it has taken on a life of its own.”

Anne Reid said: “There’s nothing else like it, is there? You’ve got dramas like Downton Abbey, with the upstairs and downstairs, but this show is about ordinary families. I have never been in anything else that has had people all over the world asking when it’s coming back.”

Last Tango in Halifax is the story of Celia and Alan, former teenage sweethearts who are reunited as widowed pensioners over 50 years later. The couple rekindle their passion and get married, but there is conflict with their sparring daughters. The new series, which features Bradford-born actor Timothy West as Alan’s brother, sees the couple seven years into their marriage, not quite seeing eye to eye. “This show feels like meeting up with your nearest and dearest,” said Sir Derek. “It’s so real, so right. The script goes in so naturally.”

Sarah Lancashire paid tribute to Sally’s writing: “Everything she does is born of truth. You know when we wait till people are dead to call them a genius? With Sally we should do it while she’s still alive.”

With younger generations in the show having their own stories, Sally hinted at more series to come. “It hope it will run and run,” she said. “Does that mean I have to die?” joked Sir Derek. “Well, I’m not dying,” smiled Anne Reid.