New VisitScotland guide to inspire set-jetting TV fans

The Finnieston Crane features in the last segment of Night Mail. Photo: Kenny Lam.
The Finnieston Crane features in the last segment of Night Mail. Photo: Kenny Lam.

As Scotland marks the 130th anniversary of the birth of the Scottish “pioneer of television”, the national tourism organisation has launched a guide aimed at set-jetting TV fans.

TV Set in Scotland, produced by VisitScotland, contains details of more than 60 television programmes, which have either been filmed in Scotland or have Scottish links.

The 36-page book is dedicated to inventor and engineer John Logie Baird who was born in Helensburgh on 13 August, 1888 and is considered one of the fathers of television and the first to show TV pictures to the world.

From milestone documentary, Night Mail, to Agatha Christie adaptation, Ordeal by Innocence, the guide delves into the animations, documentaries, dramas, sitcoms and soap operas which have been filmed in or inspired by Scotland over the past 80 years.

In keeping with the ‘TV guide’ format, it also has a selection of film highlights and contains special sections on Outlander, Doctor Who and famous Scottish small-screen characters, including Glasgow-born Scrooge McDuck from DuckTales and Scotty from Star Trek.

Glasgow highlights include:

·Taggart (Glasgow) - Fondly remembered for its catchphrase “There’s been a murder”, the UK’s longest-running TV crime drama filming took place across Glasgow with the original title card of the show using a panoramic shot taken from the summit of the Cathkin Braes to the south of the city. In later years, a shot of the city centre was taken from The Lighthouse – Scotland’s national centre for design and architecture – on Mitchell Lane.

· Night Mail (Finnieston Crane) – An iconic monument to Glasgow’s shipping heritage, the Finnieston Crane features in the last segment one of the most critically acclaimed films within the British documentary film movement.

· Rab C Nesbitt (Argyle Street) – Despite being set in the Govan, the sitcom about the beloved drunken street philosopher was actually filmed in the Two Ways pub at the end of Argyle Street. Johnny Depp used the show to perfect his Scottish accent when playing the Mad Hatter.

· Still Game (Glasgow) – The Scottish sitcom following the misadventures of Jack (Ford Kiernan) and Victor (Greg Hemphill) is set in the fictional Craiglang area of Glasgow, however the Maryhill district of the city is one of the most common filming locations.

In a specially written foreword, Peter May, author and co-creator of Gaelic soap opera Machair, says Scotland’s “breath-taking scenery” makes it the “envy of the world”.

He writes: “Filmmakers and TV companies from far and wide make the annual pilgrimage to Scotland to fill their viewers’ screens with stunning images of snow-peaked mountains, silver beaches and turquoise seas. Scotland presents a unique landscape and culture for those film and TV companies as settings not only for documentaries, but for top-rated timeless dramas.”

TV Set in Scotland aims to capitalise on the growing trend of set-jetting. Research shows that one in five visitors to Scotland have been inspired to visit the country after seeing locations on the big and small screen.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “Scotland’s scenery and built heritage, together with our diverse and rich culture have attracted countless filmmakers over the years.

“I welcome this new guide which maps out the locations of some of the great television shows that have been filmed in Scotland and will encourage TV fans of all ages to come and explore our fantastic on-screen locations in real life.”

Jenni Steele, Film and Creative Industries Manager at VisitScotland, said: “The list of television shows and locations featured in TV Set in Scotland is not exhaustive, but this fun and informative guide, which contains firm fan favourites alongside little-known gems, serves as a starting point for visitors wishing to explore the many on-screen locations and nearby attractions.

“The impact of filmmaking in Scotland goes far beyond production spend. Scotland’s appearances on TV have the potential to reach huge global audiences and, with research finding that one in five visitors are inspired to visit after seeing it on-screen, the opportunities for the tourism industry are immense.”

The latest figures show that spend on film and TV in Scotland in 2017 reached £95 million – the highest level since records began – and a £26 million increase on the previous year. Over the past decade, spend has increased by more than 300%.

VisitScotland previously published, Set in Scotland: A Film Fan’s Odyssey, which focused on the many films shot across the country.

TV Set in Scotland will be available free of charge in attractions and VisitScotland iCentres throughout the country and for download at VisitScotland