If you are missing your trip to Whitby, here at the Riviera Guesthouse, our aim is to fill the gap with our April blog. 
 
Our latest instalment will give you a glimpse of Whitby through a selection of TV series, films and books.  
 
Hopefully by the end of the blog, you can almost hear the seagulls and smell those tasty fish and chips! 
 
 
This recent BBC adaptation featured Whitby, the iconic Abbey and 199 Steps. 
 
 
Yet these famous movies and/or TV series are just the tip of the iceberg, and while there are too many to mention in great detail, we thought a whistle-stop tour of the more well-known celluloid or literary moments ensures you can view your favourite seaside town from the comfort of your sofa. 
 
Hopefully this will satisfy your whimsical yearnings for Whitby until you can visit us again! 
The well-loved TV drama series 'Heartbeat' (1992 to 2010) is set in our area, with the drama revolving around the fictional locations of Ashfordly and Aidensfield. The original books are written by Nicholas Rhea, the pen name for the former Yorkshire policeman. 
 
Another book and film that references our area is 'Possession'. The film (2002) stars Gwyneth Paltrow, while the book was written by AS Byatt. The 1990 best-seller also won the prestigious Booker Prize. The film locations took in a jet shop in Whitby and nearby locations include Runswick Bay, Ravenscar and Beck Hole. 
 
Our rugged coast forms the backdrop for a re-telling of the 1914 Antarctic expedition led by seasoned polar explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, featuring thespian actor Sir Kenneth Branagh in the title role. The epic true story is one of the greatest survival feats in all exploration. Parts of our dramatic coastline appear in the 2002 Shackleton TV version of this timeless tale. 
 
From the south polar region to the northern one, the 1999 film 'Captain Jack's, with Bob Hoskins, tells the story of a sea captain who retraces the sailing route of the 18th century seafarer Captain William Scoresby. 
Other movies that use Whitby as a location include James Herriot’s 'All Creatures Great and Small' in 1975, starring Brenda Bruce, and more recently 'Victoria' (TV series, from 2016 to the present day), depicting the trials and tribulations of one of our most famous monarchs, Queen Victoria. 
 
So far, we’ve described a number of books, TV series and films that have woven Whitby into their narratives. 
 
Yet we’ve omitted perhaps one of Whitby’s most famous authors who lived in and wrote about Whitby in detail. This lady captured our town in her writing, read by vast numbers in the 1800s. 
 
Mary Linskill was born on 13th December 1840 and died in April 1891, laid to rest in St Mary’s churchyard, Whitby. Born in Blackburn’s Yard in the town, Mary later apprenticed as a milliner. She moved to Manchester, Nottinghamshire and Derby for work purposes. 
 
Mary showed a talent for the written word and her most famous work, 'The Haven Under the Hill', was published in September 1886. 
The novel relates the story of Dorigen Gower, a young, working class girl, daughter of a jet worker, who tries to ‘make it’ as a successful novelist. We won’t give the plot away however it revolves around the town and has dramatic narrative twists and includes some rather macabre moments! 
 
Mary didn’t make huge sums of money from her writing, even though she wrote a number of novels, poetry and short stories, including 'Between the Heather and the Northern Sea', and 'Tales of the North Riding'. 
 
She is sometimes referred to as ‘the Whitby novelist’ and the Yorkshire landscape is the hallmark of her writing. 
 
Moving to more modern times, novelist Jessica Blair has written scores of romantic novels set in and around Whitby. Jessica is actually the pen name for male writer Bill Spence. 
 
The Jessica Blair website says: “The rugged Yorkshire coast and its port of the 19th century form the backdrop to most of the novels of romance, mystery and adventure”, which sums up the Whitby connection very nicely. Novel titles include 'A Distant Harbour', 'Secrets of a Whitby Girl' and 'The Locket'. 
Other Whitby connections to famous literary works include those with Lewis Carroll, author of classic children's novels 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Alice Through The Looking Glass.' Earlier this year, we wrote an entire blog about this fascinating link. 
 
Of course, Whitby continues to inspire present-day authors including GP Taylor with 'Shadowmancer'; 'The Whitby Witches', a trilogy by Robin Jarvis and 'Started Early, Took My Dog' by Kate Atkinson. 
 
So, whether you want to relax in your living room with a film or sit back with a book, there are plenty of Whitby-inspired creations for you to watch or read, keeping up your Whitby ‘fix’ for the time being. 
 
Until next time … 
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