Publicity Notes

HAMISH MACBETH

General Introduction to Series 3

obert Carlyle returns in the third and final series of Hamish Macbeth in the role which has won him the Scottish BAFTA and Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor. Filmed entirely on the West Coast of Scotland and produced by Zenith for BBC Scotland, the hit series has built up a huge following around the world and attracted large numbers of Canadian and Australian visitors to the picturesque village of Plockton, the real-life home and beat of the laid-back policeman.

Hamish Macbeth is responsible for administering the law in Lochdubh, a village so remote that it is a law unto itself. He is assisted in his duties by the multi-faceted TV John (Ralph Riach), whose second sight and housekeeping skills make him an indispensable right-hand man.

Macbeth's quest for the quiet life was rocked in the last series when he found himself caught in a love triangle. Despite having set up home with his old flame Alex (Valerie Gogan), he was increasingly drawn to the dark-haired local reporter Isobel Sutherland (Shirley Henderson). When Alex died in a tragic road accident and Isobel moved to Glasgow to pursue her career as a journalist, Hamish was left in Lochdubh, alone with his guilt and grief, and viewers were left wondering if Isobel would ever return.

Isobel does return - temporarily - to Lochdubh in Episode 1 of the new series (The Lochdubh Assassin) with two young Glaswegian friends who are on the run from a gang of ruthless villians. How will Hamish react to her return - and how will he deal with the more pressing problem of the Reservoir Dogs who are running amok in Lochdubh?

Hamish meets two other attractive young women during the course of the new series. A trainee WPC, played by Sharon Small, is most impressed by Hamish's convincing performance as the model policeman (Episode 3: The Honourable Policeman), and a twenty year-old mystery on the island of Laggan-Laggan introduces him to the troubled Laura McDuff, played by Caroline Paterson.

Love is in the air throughout the series for the other inhabitants of Lochdubh. Lachie Jnr (Stuart Davids), who is successfully pursuing his newfound vocation as a funeral director, falls for Isobel's friend Jean Foley (Sandy McDade) who takes refuge in the village with her young nephew Frankie.

And the lonely laird, Major Maclean (David Ashton), sets tongues wagging when he returns fom a foreign holiday with a glamorous fiancee, Serena St Claire (Sally Dexter), in Episode 3: The Honourable Policeman. Serena is crazy about the Major - but is it the Laird or his land that she finds so irresistable?

Village grocer Rory Campbell (Brian Pettifer) and the voluptuous schoolteacher Esme Murray (Anne Lacey) are still Lochdubh's most romantic couple, until Esme attracts the attentions of the local fire brigade, that is (Episode 5: The Trouble with Rory).

And romance is even on he cards for Lachlan Snr (Billy Riddoch) in Episode 6: More Than a Game. The "lady with the tractor"(Morag Hood) who replies to his lonely hearts advertisment is undoubtly enticing, but his ideal partner is far more down to earth in the shape of the Major's housekeeper Edie (Mona Bruce).

The series ends with a compelling two-part story (Destiny, Parts 1 & 2) in which the villagers of Lochdubh wrestle for the very soul of Scotland. Will adversity cement Hamish and Isobel's troubled relationship or drive them further apart? And should TV John's premonition of the death of someone very close be taken seriously? After all, he has never been wrong before...

1996 proved to be yet another landmark year in the career of Hamish Macbeth star Robert Carlyle. He mesmerised audiences with his terrifying performance as Begbie in the hit film Trainspotting, before spending six weeks in Nicaragua playing a sensitive Glasgwegian bus driver in Ken Loach's Carla's Song. He went on to star in Peter Cattaneo's The Full Monty about a band of unemployed steelworkers who form a Chippendales-style act, which made a big impact at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, before returning to Plockton for the four-month shoot of Hamish Macbeth. When filming finished he immediately headed south for London to play a Cockney gangster in Antonia Bird's Face, which also stars Blur's Damon Albarn.

Audiences around the world have been captivated by Hamish Macbeth's canine companion Wee Jock who, in Series 2 was played by Fraoch from Dumfrie. The demands of the role in the new series however meant that the skills of a specifically traned film dog were required. While Fraoch was working on the easier scenes, Dexter from London was being trained for the more demanding episodes by Gill Raddings, who also train Wellard in EastEnders, Timmy in the Famous Five, and who recently worked on 101 Dalmations.

The principal writer and creator of the Hamih Macbeth television series, Daniel Boyle makes an appearance in the new series. His performance as a corpse in the last series so impressed the producer that this year he not only moves but speaks in his role as the "Handsome Sailor" (Episode 4: Deferred Sentence).

Shooting the new series of eith episodes, rather that the usual six, caused problems for the producers as the real Lochdubh, the beautiful but tiny village of Plockton is full of tourists throughout the months of July and August when it holds its annual sailing regatta. In negotiations with the villagers, the producers agreed that they would de-camp to the Isle of Skye during this period and scripts were written with this change of location in mind. Episode 2: Deferred Sentence, which takes Hamish Macbeth away on holiday to the rugged island of Luggan-Luggan, and the final two part story (Episodes 7 & 8: Destiny), which takes a Lochdubh posse to a remote rugged coastline and took the cast and crew to some of the most inaccessible parts of Skye during a particularly wet summer.

In 1996 the first two seris of Hamish Macbeth were shown n Australia, where it became an overnight smash hit. Debates were held on national TV and radio (Belind here: Were they?????) as to whether the series should have subtitles, a Wee Jock Appreciation Society was formed, and a Hamish Macbeth page for fans on the Internet was set up. As a result, Australian visitors to Plockton have been flooding in, all searching for Hamish Macbeth landmarks and regular locations.

Hamish Macbeth is based on the character created by M.C. Beation, produced by Charles Salmon and filmed in around Plockton, on the West Coast of Scotland on the Isle of Skye. Daniel Boyle created the series for television and wrote five episodes of the new series and co-wrote one with Dominic Minghella. Two episodes were written by Stuart Hepburn who also plays Eric Clelland, a corrupt builder in Episode 5: The Trouble with Rory.

Writers : Daniel Boyle (Episode 1,2,3,4,7 & 8) Stuart Hepburn (Episode 5 & 6) Dominic Minghella (Co-writer of Episode 1)

Directors: Nicholas Renton (Episodes 1,4,7 & 8) Jonas Grimas (Episodes 2 & 3) Mandle Fletcher (Episodes 5 & 6)

Producer: Charles Salmon

Executive Producer: Andrea Calderwood, Trevor Davies and Scott Meek

A Zenith/Skyline Production for BBC Scotland

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Last Update: October, 2005