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HPK - title card
High Peak
(project code 'HPK') is a rural serial drama produced by Impossible Princess Productions and published on the creative writing forum Writers Express.

It is set in the fictional north Derbyshire village of Miller, which itself is on the outskirts of the equally fictional market town of Bellfield. Also mentioned are the unseen neighbouring villages of Greenchapel and Wolverdere, the latter usually in a derogatory manner. No precise location is identified, but Miller is based in northwest Derbyshire in the eponymously-named High Peak area, which is north of the Peak District and Derbyshire Dales and is said to be roughly equidistant between Manchester and Sheffield. Logically this puts it in the vicinity of Buxton. Exterior shots of Miller are filmed in and around Edale.

This is the third incarnation of the project, and it began a 'test run' of five episodes on Monday 4 September 2017. If successful, it looks set to return permanently later in the year.

The project was initially conceived in late 2011. Two incarnations of it then ran in 2012. High Peak 1.0, as it is retroactively known, was published between February and May and ran for 36 episodes (Episode 37 was written but never published). In April of that year, it won five Writers Express awards at WRIXAS 2, including 'Best New Project.' In spite of this, producers Gambox Productions (AKA forum members MGambitt and Noxy) cancelled it, explaining that they were unhappy with its continuity. Shortly after, it was announced that a new version would happen at some point. In September 2012, High Peak 2.0 began, this time with Noxy as the sole producer. However, despite a similarly enthusiastic response to it, the project was pulled again in November 2012, with similar reasons given. Until August 2017, no more was heard about it.

In a 2017 interview, Noxy explained her logic: "With (High Peak) 1.0, I realised we had something interesting but structurally I didn't think it stood up. In truth I think we rushed it out there too soon and just went with it. Sometimes that works, that time it didn't. Gam (MGambitt) was reluctant to go back to the drawing board initially, but when I explained my thinking and we both discussed the different ideas we had, he was persuaded. I'm grateful to him for that. Then in September 2012 I gave it another go, but ultimately it stalled again. One thing I know, both from personal experience and reading other people's projects, is as a writer you just can't blag a project. If you're not feeling it, if there's not a sufficient connection then eventually that apathy will infect the project and the audience won't feel it either. I'm an all or nothing sort of person and if I'm not 100% into a project - and I wasn't - then for me it's a non-starter."

"In truth, I realised after 2.0 that High Peak was kind of beyond me at that point. The essential ingredients it needed to work long-term, I just wasn't capable of at that time. I knew what it needed but didn't know how to make that a reality. But that was five long years ago and I've learned so much both as a writer and as a person since then. And believe me, I have been over it and over it in the last few years - cast changes, name changes, location changes, you name it! - but now I finally think I have something that could work. I'm not totally sure though, hence a test run of episodes. But I feel positive about High Peak now in a way I simply never have before, so it's promising! But what I will say is that it's three strikes and you're out. The failure of 2.0 knocked my confidence in High Peak, which is partly why it has taken so long to get here. If 3.0 doesn't work out, that's fine - that's life - but that's it, it's over."

'High Peak 3.0' (known simply as High Peak) was unofficially announced on Tuesday 15 August 2017, with confirmation coming in a news article the following day.

In HPK time, the project airs three times a week on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.

High Peak does not have its own Twitter account. Instead, all information pertaining to it comes under the umbrella account @WXImpo_Princess, which is the Impossible Princess Productions account.

Title CardEdit

The current title card is similar to the 2012 High Peak title cards, but with a few modifications. The valley-style background image has been replaced with a blurred out arial view of an anonomous rural area, which represents Miller village. The golden, old-fashioned font of the original has been replaced with the more modern Tw Cen MT, and the words are now two-tone; 'high' is green and 'peak' is white, and this colour scheme is meant to evoke the countryside. Like its sister project 'These Days', the words 'High Peak' are stylised in lower case only.

Theme TuneEdit

Unlike 'These Days' - which changed the theme tune it used between its versions - High Peak 3.0 uses the same theme both other versions used; an instrumental version of 'Talk' by Coldplay. Noxy feels the 'gentle but vibrant riffs' in Talk 'suit the project down to the ground.'

PremiseEdit

The initial premise of High Peak was that of a compelling but down-to-earth rural drama about the ups and downs of its residents lives. Noxy originally had concerns about it being 'These Days in the countryside', and with it being set in a northern village, unfavourable comparisons to the long-running countryside serial 'Emmerdale'. To quell some of these fears, the decision was taken to have the holiday village (Chalet Peaks) as the main set, and to exclude any sort of farm set. In addition, one of the main families in the soap - the Sheldons - would be southerners, essentially urban fish out of water in a low-key northern village. However, Noxy has had a change of heart and decided to include a farm set in the new version.

In a 2017 interview, she explained: "Farming is now an element of High Peak, but not the fundamental premise, as it was in Emmerdale pre-1994. I don't think any of the sets dominate actually. The farm, the pub, the holiday village, all form parts of a whole and none take precedence. Also, farming is essentially meaningless in Emmerdale now, which I think is sad. Emmerdale has also become urbanised and not really about life in a village anymore, which I also think is a shame. It's moved a long way from its roots, and what I wanted from High Peak is not Emmerdale, and not some kind of misty-eyed nostalgia. Something modern and contemporary, but also something that makes the beautiful surroundings just as important as the dramas within it." High Peak has three significant settings. The first is Wolverdere, a fictional neighbouring village which is never seen but occasionally mentioned, usually in a derogatory manner. The second is the fictional market town of Bellfield - which the village is on the outskirts of - that is occasionally seen and mentioned, and where a small number of characters work or are educated. But the central location is the village of Miller, where the vast majority of characters live and drama takes place. In addition, there are several distinctive landmarks in the show. These include the following:

BUSINESS/EDUCATIONEdit

  • The Mulberry Arms (known as 'The Crown Tavern' in previous versions): a cosy country public house owned by Stuart Fairfield and his ex-wife, Leah McIntyre. However, Stuart divorced Leah some years previously and she disappeared to Malaga. Whilst she is still legally landlady, Stuart ostensibly runs it alone. He also lives there with his dad Pete, as well as his three teenage children of varying ages - Aiden, Casey and Flick, who is deaf. Another pub in the village, The Feathers, is occasionally mentioned but never seen
  • Meadowgrove - livestock farm owned and run by the other side of the Fairfield family. Living there are Stuart's elder brother Patrick, his wife Niamh and their three children: grown-up Drew and Charlotte, who also work on the farm, teenager Isaac and a young, male border collie called Milo
  • Chalet Peaks - a holiday village owned by Frank and Helen Sheldon, but run by their son Dan and his wife Debbie. Frank and Helen do not live there, but Dan and Debbie do - as do their three children: grown-up Olly, the only one of the children who also works there, adult teenager Kayley and young teenager Jaimee
  • High Tea - a tearooms owned, run and lived in by Frank and Helen
  • Hike Peak - a hiking company with a shop, owned and run by long-term unmarried couple Neil McIntyre and Gill Nicholls
  • Hardy's - a hybrid business which operates as a newsagent's and also has a small area for hot beverages. This is based on a similar shop in the mid-Derbyshire town of Matlock, and is owned and run by retired doctor Alan Hardy
  • The Mary Mackworth Academy - an ailing high school in Bellfield which has only just been renamed and converted from a comprehensive school into an academy. This is to the disapproval of long-term headteacher Ruth Hardy, but to the approval of deputy head Mindi Singh. Indifferent is new head of English, Tess Rowland, who worked at the school years earlier when it was known as Barton Road Comprehensive. All three live in Miller. The academy itself is named after Mary Mackworth, a fictional Victorian philanthropist who lived in the area in the late 19th century. Mackworth is also a village near Derby
  • St. Peter's C of E Church - the local Anglican church, which is part of vicar Josh Rowland's parish
  • Singh Motors - garage owned and run by Deepak Singh
  • Bellfield College - post-16 educational establishment, attended by students including late teens Molly Rowland, Kayley Sheldon, Drew Fairfield and Seb Seymour
  • Strong & Stables - a horse sanctuary which operates as a business within the unseen Mossthwaite Manor. It is a multi-faceted operation, caring for both regular and race horses, as well as offering riding lessons to locals. It is run via Mossthwaite by the unseen Ormerod family who inhabit the manor. Strong & Stables is run by local independent MP Kate Bagshaw on behalf of the Ormerods. The exact number of Ormerods is unknown, but sometimes mentiond are husband and wife Hugh and Marion, and their son Tobias

RESIDENTIALEdit

  • Blossom Wood Cottage, Lydgate Lane - location of the Sheldon home and Chalet Peaks holiday village. Resident there are Dan Sheldon, Debbie Sheldon, Olly Sheldon, Kayley Sheldon, Jaimee Sheldon, Tigger Sheldon (male ginger cat) and Bella Sheldon (female West Highland Terrier)
  • Meadowgrove, Bellfield Road - location of Meadowgrove Farm (see above for residents)
  • Acacia Cottage, Laburnum Grove - location of the Rowland home. Resident there are Josh Rowland, Tess Rowland, Molly Rowland, Luke Rowland, Flynn Rowland and Rocco (male labrador puppy)
  • Derwent View, Laburnum Grove - location of the McIntrye/Seymour family home. Resident there are Neil McIntyre, Gill Seymour, Seb Seymour and Seb's two male bearded dragons, Ant and Dec
  • Millbrook Cottage, Laburnum Grove - location of the Hardy family home. Resident there are Ruth and Alan Hardy
  • Dove Cottage, Laburnum Grove - location of the Aston/Hardy family home. Resident there are Gabz Aston and her young daughter Ania Aston. However, the cottage actually belongs to Gabz's boyfriend Keiran Aston, who is currently serving a prison sentence at the fictional HMP Sheffield
  • Ivy Rose Cottage, Lydgate Lane - location of the Bagshaw/Draycott family home. Resident there are Kate Bagshaw and grown-up daughter Emma Draycott. Kate also uses it as her parliamentary address, though she holds her surgeries in Bellfield. It is the closest set to the holiday village.
  • Sunnyside View, Laburnum Grove - location of the Singh family home. Resident there are Deepak Singh, Mindi Singh, Ashwin Singh, Bina Singh and their three rabbits Buster, Babs and Bugs

OTHEREdit

  • Bellfield MRT is the fictional mountain rescure service which covers Bellfield (where it's unseen headquarters are based), Miller and Wolverdere. Several characters work on an ad-hoc, voluntary basis for Bellfield MRT, including Neil McIntyre, Gill Seymour, Dan Sheldon, Mindi Singh, Ashwin Singh and Niamh Fairfield

First & Second Versions (2012)Edit

The first version was nominated for twelve accolades at WRIXAS 2 in 2012, and won five of them:


  • BEST EPISODE: Episode 20
  • BEST SCENE: Molly's Emotional Exit (Episode 20)
  • BEST FRIENDSHIP: Jaimee Sheldon and Luke Rowland
  • BEST NEW PROJECT
  • BEST COLLABORATIVE PROJECT (Noxy & MGambitt)

Due to its rural location in northern England, Noxy and MGambitt were initially concerned about unfavourable comparisons to the long-running Yorkshire serial Emmerdale. In order to distinguish it, the main set was a holiday village called Chalet Peaks rather than a farm, and no farm set was ever used. Other distinct aspects were the use of a tearooms called High Tea (a pun on 'High Peak'), a failing comprehensive school run by hard-faced secret drunk Pippa Hardy, and a controversial homosexual relationship between two teenage step brothers. Noxy was also conscious that she did not want it to be 'These Days in the countryside', alluding to that soap's emotion and grit.

The central families were the Sheldons and the Rowlands. The mixed-race Rowland family were newcomers to the village, having relocated from Oxford, with Josh Rowland becoming the new village vicar. However, it emerged later that there was more to their move, and cracks in the family dynamic, especially with eldest daughter Molly. Molly later ran away to be with her ex-boyfriend in Oxford, with Josh later going after her and persuading her to return to Miller. However, the reasons for her unhappiness were never revealed as neither incarnation of High Peak ran long enough for fans to discover.

Elsewhere, it was clear that no-nonsense Yorkshire woman Debbie Sheldon had a fractious relationship with her mother-in-law, whilst her husband Nick was more concerned about his ageing father's faltering health. Plans were afoot to introduce Nick's brother into the series, a wealthy businessman who was somewhat estranged from his family, wanted to buy out the holiday village and make it a campus of a chain called Holidale! However, the series was pulled before this ever came to fruition.

Other stories included that of sharp-tongued local councillor Kate Bagshaw reconnecting with her surly, spiky teenage daughter Emma Draycott; bright but cynical teenager Seb Sawley's reluctance for mum Gill Nicholls to marry her long-tern partner Neil McIntyre; and long-suffering deputy headteacher Mindi Singh trying to keep her school ticking over under the ailing leadership of Pippa Hardy

Changes from the 2012 versionsEdit

Below is a non-exhaustive list of significant changes made to the 2017 incarnation of High Peak, compared to the 2012 versions:

  • The elder Sheldons have been renamed as Frank and Helen, with their son Nick now called Dan. In the 2012 versions, Dan and his parents were originally southerners, but now the whole family is northern
  • Rather than being a new family to the area, the Rowlands are in fact returning to Miller to live after a seven-year absence following a move to Oxford. Parents Josh and Tess are actually from Oxford, whereas their children Molly, Luke and Flynn where all born in the High Peak
  • The Crown Tavern public house has been renamed The Mulberry Arms. Previously it was the home of the Kaminski family, and run by the husband and wife of that family. However, the Kaminskis have been dropped from this version, and the pub is now run by one half of the village's largest family, the Fairfields
  • In the original versions, the ailing high school was on the brink of becoming an academy, whereas now it has just become an academy offscreen
  • Headteacher Pippa Hardy - originally a widow - is now called Ruth Hardy and is married to husband Alan
  • Kate Bagshaw was originally a councillor who had long aimed but never actually become an MP. Now she is a long-term independent MP, who also has a side business running the horse sanctuary business Strong & Stables - a business which did not exist in 2012 versions
  • In 2012 versions, Gabz Aston and her daughter Sydney (now Ania) were in a family unit with father/husband Kieran, and Gabz was having an affair with Mark Walton. This time, there is no Mark Walton, Gabz and Kieran are not married, Ania is not Kieran's biological daughter, Kieran is the son of Ruth and Alan, and he is currently doing time at fictional HMP Sheffield
  • In 2012 versions, Neil McIntyre and Gill Nicholls were just about to marry, whereas this time no marriage is on the horizon; they are however a long-term couple. Neil ran the garage and Gill was a swimming instructor at a leisure centre. This time, both run new hiking business Hike Peak. Gill's surname is now Seymour. They still have a daughter together called Courtney McIntyre, but rather than being there at the outset, Courtney is away at university
  • The garage is now called Singh Motors, and is now run by Deepak Singh
  • In 2012 versions there was no farm set. Now there is Meadowgrove Farm, run by an entirely new arm of the Fairfield family
  • The market town of Bellfield nor the neighbouring village of Wolverdere existed in 2012 versions
  • In 2012 versions, residential sets were not named or numbered, as is the case with sister soap 'These Days'. This time however, all the sets have names and addresses. The majority of characters live on the main street that runs through Miller, which is called Laburnum Grove. This name was inspired by the name of a road near to where Noxy herself grew up, although it is a very common residential road name in England

Episode RecapsEdit

A synopsis of the main stories in each episode will be published after the next episode has aired (for example, a recap for Episode 1 was published when Episode 2 went to air etc.). To read these, simply click on any of the links listed below:

Current CastEdit

Status

Character

Actor

Duration (by episodes)

Regular

Frank Sheldon

Duncan Preston

1-

Regular

Helen Sheldon

Sue Johnston

1-

Regular

Dan Sheldon

Tom Lister

1-

Regular

Debbie Sheldon

Alex Kingston

1-

Regular

Olly Sheldon

Scott Harrison

1-

Regular

Kayley Sheldon

Ciara Lucking

1-

Recurring

Jaimee Sheldon

Kacey Hebden

1-

Recurring Tigger Sheldon Cat 1-
Recurring Bella Sheldon Dog 1-
Regular Josh Rowland Colin Salmon 1-
Regular Tess Rowland Sally Dexter 1-
Regular Molly Rowland Georgie Henley 1-
Recurring Luke Rowland Cuban Burdett 1-
Recurring Flynn Rowland Taye Junaid-Evans 1-
Reccuring Rocco Dog ?-
Regular Patrick Fairfield Bill Ward ?-
Regular Niamh Fairfield Siobhan Finneran ?-
Regular Drew Fairfield Chris Born ?-
Regular Charlotte Fairfield Jayd Johnson ?-
Recurring Isaac Fairfield Oliver Loades ?-
Regular Pete Fairfield Frazer Hines ?-
Regular Aiden Fairfield Mark Flanagan ?-
Recurring Casey Fairfield Scarlett Ward ?-
Recurring Flick Fairfield Bo Bragason ?-
Regular Neil McIntyre Joe McFadden

?-

Regular Gill Seymour Gaynor Faye ?-
Regular Seb Seymour Luke Blackmore ?-
Regular Alan Hardy Peter Davison ?-
Regular Ruth Hardy Paula Wilcox ?-
Regular Gabz Aston Roxanne Pallett ?-
Recurring Ania Aston Yoanna Dukanova ?-
Regular Kate Bagshaw Jane Gurnett ?-
Regular Deepak Singh Ramon Tikaram ?-
Regular Mindi SIngh Shelley Conn ?-
Regular Ashwin Singh Adam Fielding ?-
Regular Bina SIngh Bhavinsha Parmar ?-
Recurring Bugs Singh Rabbit ?-
Recurring Buster Singh Rabbit ?-
Recurring Babs Singh Rabbit ?-
TOTAL 39

Past CastEdit

None

AwardsEdit

At WRIXAS 2 (also known as The Spring WRIXAS 2012) on 2 April 2012, the first version of 'High Peak' was nominated for twleve awards and won five. These were as follows:

  • BEST EPISODE: Episode 20
  • BEST SCENE: Molly's Emotional Exit (Episode 20)
  • BEST FRIENDSHIP: Jaimee Sheldon and Luke Rowland
  • BEST NEW PROJECT
  • BEST COLLABORATIVE PROJECT (Noxy & MGambitt)

Legacy of 2012 versionsEdit

Unusually, both versions were removed from Writers Express, a decision co-creator Noxy has since expressed regret about. It was her intention to launch a third version much sooner. Due to various incidences of technical loss and damage, much information about High Peak - including features and casting information - is irritrievably lost. However, all episodes from both versions remain in Noxy's possession.

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