And the Winner is…Glasgow!
Glasgow is clearly the star when it comes to great TV! As the setting for a plethora of entertaining shows, a new Scottish TV channel in the works, and a unique TV script writing programme at GCU, Glesca has tonnes to offer viewers and those who dream of making their career in television.
Our famous sense of humour has been keeping everybody laughing for decades with sitcoms like ‘Rab C Nesbitt’. The angry, yet loveable Govan philosopher, created by the brilliant Glasweegie Ian Pattison, is a timeless BBC comedy classic.
‘Still Game’ has still got it, returning to television after a nine-year absence. It’s seventh series premiere aired on BBC One in September 2016, and was one of the most-watched programmes of the year! And did we mention that its creators, Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill are local boys? They hail from Dennistoun and Springhill respectively.
Two relative newcomers to the comedy scene are ‘Two Doors Down’ on BBC Two, and ‘Scot Squad’, on BBC One. ‘Two Doors Down’ is shot in Dumbarton for the look of a Glasgow suburb, and funny lady Elaine C Smith, originally from Motherwell, is one of its main characters, Christine O’Neal. Ms Smith has been one of our area’s most successful comedic television actors, having already portrayed Mary “Doll” Nesbitt in ‘Rab C’.
If you haven’t watched ‘Scot Squad’ – you need to! The fictitious “unified police force”, patrols Scotland, making everyone feel just a bit more unsafe. Shot and produced in and around Glasgow, the show has three series under its belt.
Just because Glaswegians are known for their comedy – that’s not to say we don’t have our darker side… “The Replacement” was a chilling psychological thriller airing this season on BBC One in a three-part mini-series, with the drama unfolding in Glasgow.
“In Plain Sight”, airing on ITV, was based on the infamous Glasgow serial killer, Peter Manuel, who terrorised the area from 1956 to 1958, possibly killing as many as 10 victims.
If you’re looking for an ongoing serial drama with occasional, light-hearted moments, “River City” delivers on both counts. It’s set in the fictitious suburb of Glasgow, known as Shieldinch. The long-running BBC show which originally aired in 2002, has one-hour episodes every week.
All of Scotland is buzzing right now with the announcement of the new TV channel, BBC Scotland, and rightly so. Set to begin broadcasting in Autumn 2018, the £19 million investment in the new channel is the largest, single investment in Scottish broadcast content in over 20 years! This is great news for the local economy, but also a welcome opportunity for anyone wanting to work in television.
If you’re interested in working behind the scenes in TV, Glasgow is lucky to have the only course in the UK, that offers a Masters Programme catering solely to television. The MA TV Fiction Writing Programme has been in existence for just eight years, but already has former alumni who are working on ‘Doctors’, ‘Hollyoaks’, ‘EastEnders’ and ‘Casualty’. The success of the programme may be because its instructors have actually written for these shows as well, along with other popular favourites such as ‘Taggart’, ‘The Coroner’ and ‘River City’. The programme has attracted scholarship funding from such recognisable names as Warners Bros., BBC Scotland, MG Alba, ScreenHI and the programme’s creators, Eileen Gallagher and Ann McManus.
Clearly, for TV – Glasgow is the place to be!
***Words By Pamela Palongue***