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’- Ihaﬂ‘ . 1 Advocates was much better than the critics would allow. There are a lot ofproblems that first-time dramas have, establishing the characters, and the situation. It was a little overpopulated in the foreground, a bit confusing. But it looked great, the playing was terrific, it was a reasonably good story. It‘s a learning process. making drama, but we got it right enough.‘ The cast will be thinned out a little for the new series, and writer Alma Cullen is too busy to be involved. She’s been replaced by John Cooper, a barrister.
Thankfully, Scottish won‘t be putting all their faith into TheAdvocates. A particularly exciting new move, and a logical one considering Scottish‘s weaknesses, is a tie-in with Channel X, the independent company specialising in comedy and light entertainment, best known for Thelonarhan Ross Show and Vic Reeves' Big Night Out. Glasgow-born Mike Bolland of Channel X is confident about the new alliance. ‘Basically we're here to develop some entertainment ideas for shows to be made in Scotland for the network,‘ he says. ‘We are known for our ability to bring a freshness or a new twist
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The critics hated them and they certainly didn'tsave the nation. hutthe Advocates did enough to warrant a second series on the network. Ewan Stewart will be there. butStella Genet has been lost to the BBC.
John McKay's Dead Dad Dog is being adapted by Scottish lor transmission on Channel 4 in 1992.
to established formats, and that‘s what we’ll be trying to do. We want to work with local writers and performers. There is so much comedy talent in Scotland, look at Rab C. Nesbitt, or Billy Connolly, the world’s best stand-up. We‘re confident there's lots more talent out there, that hasn‘t been tapped
There‘s certainly plenty that hasn’t been tapped by Scottish. The station has an abysmal record in terms ofcomedy, a weakness Moffat admits. ‘The audience keep telling us they want more laughs on screen, and we have found that a very difficult area. Look at recent sitcoms and it becomes obvious that the genre is a desert, a dustbowl at the moment.‘
Scottish are making a tentative venture with a six-part sitcom based on John McKay‘s Fringe hit Dead Dad Dog. The series should be screened on Channel 4 next year, and Moffat is quietly confident that it will prove successful. with the bonus that McKay is a local writer. ‘The talent is here. you just have to look at the Fringe.‘ says Moffat. ‘The tragedy is that we haven‘t been picking up on that as much as we would have
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The happy-go-Iucky lace ot Glasgow detective work. Taggart (played by Mark McManus) has proved a winneron the ITV network.
it's grim up north: the trials and tribulations ol the Take The High Road cast have tended to be used as afternoon tillers south ot the Border, but still have a healthy tollowing in Scohand.
liked. Look at the Absolute/y team. They all come from near where I live in Morningside, rehearsed in the church next to my house and yet we let them go. That‘s criminal. That won't happen again.’
Presumably Moffat will screen-test all his future neighbours more thoroughly. In the meantime, Scottish, ifwe assume that their j franchise will be renewed, face a challenging ! future. Projects, alliances and developing ideas are fine on paper. but ultimately the station will be judged by the programmes it i broadcasts, and in a vastly more competitive market, it will need to stay one jump ahead g ofthe rest. Perhaps their most vital asset in 5 this respect iMoffat himself, a Programme Director who has retained a refreshing enthusiasm for making decent television. ‘This office should be a great meeting place. he says. ‘People should come in here, phone us up. Some TV executives hate getting the 4000 scripts and programme ideas. but I positively welcome it. As long as people keep writing to us it‘s a sign that we are doing something right.‘
The List 14— 27June 199113