Cast announced for new BBC One drama, Young James – inspired by true story of James Herriot

Iain de Caestecker (The Fades), Amy Manson (Outcasts), Ben Lloyd-Hughes (Miliband Of Brothers), Gary Lewis (Billy Elliot), and Tony Curran (The Pillars Of The Earth) have been cast in a new BBC One drama Young James produced by Koco Drama (a Shed Media company). Shooting began in Glasgow this week.

Written by Ann McManus, Eileen Gallagher and Damian Wayling, and directed by Michael Keillor, the drama is inspired by the James Herriot books which tell the story of the Young James character while he was a student at the Glasgow Veterinary College in the Thirties.

Young James focuses on his formative years as a bright, idealistic young man and follows his student exploits with close university friends Whirly Tyson and Rob McAloon.

The drama draws on unprecedented exclusive access to an astonishing archive from veterinary surgeon Alf Wight, who wrote under the pseudonym James Herriot. This includes the diaries and case notes he kept during his student years, together with the authorised biography written by his son, Jim Wight.

Herriot would become one of Britain’s best-loved authors and an inspiration for films and the long-running TV series, All Creatures Great And Small, which encouraged many others to follow in his footsteps.
Glasgow actor Iain de Caestecker takes the title role, with Amy Manson as Whirly Tyson and Ben Lloyd-Hughes as Rob McAloon.

Young James also stars Natasha Little (Case Histories), Ralph Riach (South Riding) and newcomer Joanna Vanderham (The Runaway).

Cameron Roach, executive producer, Koco Drama, comments: “The Glasgow Veterinary College of 1933 is an inspired setting for this compelling new drama series. The fact that the central character is one of the most loved television characters of all time will ensure enduring audience appeal.

“Whilst portraying the reality of the era, stories will be delivered with charm and humour taking James Heriot and his fellow student vets from the rural dairy farm to inner city slums, and to an aristocratic family seat.

“Coupling the authentic period detail of a time of huge social and political change with an outstanding ensemble cast, Young James will be essential viewing.”

Gaynor Holmes, executive producer BBC Scotland Drama, says: “Millions of people around the country grew up watching All Creatures Great And Small and the chance to bring the university years of James Herriott to the screen for them, and a whole new generation of fans, is irresistible.

“Following on from The Field Of Blood and Case Histories it shows BBC Scotland Drama’s ongoing commitment to exploring Scotland on screen in an exciting and entertaining way.”

Young James was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller of Drama Commissioning and will transmit Autumn 2011.
The consulting producer is Kate Croft, who brought the project to Shed Media, which has close links to the Wight family.

Willy Wands is the producer (The Field Of Blood, The Magdalene Sisters) and the executive producers are Cameron Roach (Silk, Life On Mars) for Koco Drama and Gaynor Holmes (Waterloo Road, The Field Of Blood) for BBC Scotland.

Young James is made by Koco Drama and represents the first commission for Shed Media’s new drama company.

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