Publicity Notes

HAMISH MACBETH

General Introduction to Series 1

major new drama series set in the Scottish Highlands, "Hamish Macbeth" starts transmission on BBC ! on Sunday, 26th March. The 6x1 hr series stars rising young Scots actor Robert Carlyle in the title role.

Hamish Macbeth is a young policeman whose beat is the apparently sleepy Highland village of Lochdubh. Serious crime isn't much of a problem in Lochdubh, but life is never dull. Passions run high in a small community - petty sqabbles turn into violent feuds, things go missing and so - occasionally - do people.

Hamish has one great ambiion: to avoid promotion. Pomotion would mean leaving his home in Lochdubh and Wee Jock, his beloved West Highland terrier. So, the less his superior officers in Inverness know of his policing activities, the better. In any case, Hamish is moe interested in natural justice than in the letter of the law.

"He sees himself as h sheriff of a one-horse ton," explains Robert Carlyle, who plays Hamish. "To him Lochdubh is the Wild West and he has his own way of dealing wih crimes and misdemeanours."

A team of colourful characters make up the close-knit community of Lochdubh, including Hamish's friend and general factotum, TV John (Ralph Riach); father and son ne'er-do-wells Lachlan an Lachie Junior (Jimmy Yuill and Stuart Davids); Doctor Dougal Brown (Duncan Duff); the proprietor of the village store, Rory Campbell and his secret love, Esme (Brian Pettifer and Anne Lacey); and Barney and Agnes Meldrum (Stuart McGugan and Barbara Rafferty), landlord and lady of the Lochdubh Hotel, local watering hole and the hub of village life.

Hamish is unhappily in love with Alexandra Maclean (Valerie Gogan), the laird's daughter, but she has left Lochdubh to pursue a writing career in London. Her occasional visits home inevitable rekindle his passion, which is a shame because, unnoticed by Hamish, local girl Isobel Sutherland (Shirley Henderson), a reporter on the Lochdubh Listener, has loved him for years.

Meanwhile, Hamish's closest friend is Wee Jock. The little terrier goes everywhere with him and jealously guards his bed when an attractive woman is in town. Wee Jock is played by newcomer, Zippy, a West Highland White from Dumfries.

Robert Carlyle's new role as Hamish is in stark contrast to his most recent television appearance playing Albie, the chilling shaven-headed psychopath in the latest series of Cracker. Other recent TV work includes Preston in the first series of 99-1; and a vicious dread-locked punk in Antonia Bird's award-winning TV drama Safe.

On film Robert has appeared in Being Human directed by Bill Forsythe, and Silent Scream directed by David Hayman. He played the lead in Riff Raff directed by Ken Loach (winner of the European Film of the Year Award), and also stars as Linus Roache's gay lover in Antonia Bird's controversial new film Priest, which was the surprise hit of the Toronto Film Festival earlier this year (1996) and is now set for release on 17th March. In the theatre he has worked with 7:48, TAG and the Traverse Theatre. He is also a director with Glasgow's Rain Dog Theatre Company which he co-founded.

"Hamish Macbeth" was filmed entirely in and around the beautiful village of Plockton on the North West Coast of Scotland. Previously famous for the palm trees which unexpectedly fringe its pretty harbour, Plockton is now set to become much better known as television's fictional village of Lochdubh. "We looked at practically every village on the West Coast of Scotland," explains producer Deirdre Keir. "We had very particular requirements and Plockton fitted th bill perfectly."

Andrea Calderwood, Head of Television Drama at BBC Scotland says, "Hamish is a very exceptional policeman and the goings-on in his village of Lochdubh offer a fresh and entertaining view of contemporary life in the Highlands."

"Hamish Macbeth" is an independent poduction for the BBC Scotland by Zenith and Skyline. Skyline is a major Scottish-based company making documentary, music and drama programmes for television. Zenith's many credits include: Inspector Morse; 99-1 starring Leslie Grantham; and Finney, a six-part thriller for ITV.

Inspired by the books of M.C. Beaton, "Hamish Macbeth' is produced by Deidre Keir (Inspector Morse; The Widow Maker; Saracen; The One Game; Firm Friends). Scripts are by Daniel Boyle (Inspector Morse; Meat; Leaving; A View of Harry Clarke), Stuart Hepburn (Taggart; Van der Valk; Sam Saturday, Winners and Losers; Loose Ends), Bryan Elsley (Casualty; London's Burning; A Nuclear Accident; The Govan Ghost Story), Julian Spilsbury (The Bill; Boon) and Dominic Minghella, who is also script editor for the series.

Nicholas Renton (Rough Justice; The Entertainer; Maigret; Underbelly) directed three episodes. The other directors are Ian Knox (Between The Lines; 99-1; Spender), Patrick Lau (99-1, Doctor Finlay; The Bill; Game, Set and Match) and Sid Robertson (Harry; Robin of Sherwood; The Sweeney). Executive Producers are Andrea Calderwood (BBC Scotland), Trevor Davies (Skyline) and Scott Meek (Zenith).

M.C. Beaton's original Hamish Macbeth novels - Death of a Cad, Death of a Gossip, Death of a Perfect Wife and Death of an Outsider - are published in the UK for the first time in Bantam paperback in April and May.

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Last Update: October, 2005