Dusting down the casebook
A homely country practice gripped the nation back in the 605. Now Scottish Television have dug up the doc for new viewers. Joining the press charabanc, Philip Parr went to Auchtermuchty to meet the new Dr Finlay.
It was the hacks’ coach trip. As we headed north, the lady from the Daily Mirror spread herself across two seats and demanded what time lunch would be. The Armani suits started to become anything but designer creased. Even The Sun’s Hooray Henrietta seemed subdued. The reason why the tabloid scribes had wrenched themselves away from London’s champagne parties was that Scottish Television had organised a location photo-call and interview session, to mark the resurrection of Dr Finlay ’s Casebook after a twenty-year absence, an event worthy even of a visit to Auchtermuchty.
The new guardians oi the casebook young doctor and filming entirely on location in Auchtermuchty, Love is putting on the line a career which has been built up around successes such as Taggart. He seems, however, largely confident about the new six-part series.
‘The original BBC series ran right through the 605,‘ he says ‘and the characters became something of a national institution. I‘m sure that people still have very vivid memories of that show but we are not reproducing the old series. Audience tastes have moved on and we’re conscious of that. So, although it’s a period series, set in the past, we’re actually making it for a 905. not a 605 audience. It will be a little bit tougher, not as nostalgic, but there still will be an element of nostalgia in it, and hopefully a lot of humour as
Annette Crosbie, best known for One Foot in the Grave will take on the role in the new series. On the coach, there was a collective sigh as we were informed that,‘Ms Crosbie does not give interviews’. As it turned out, this was inaccurate, as Ms Crosbie fended off the Daily Record man‘s questioning of Janet’s sexual preferences with remarkable good humour and patience. When he finally gave up, she was able to tell more about her impressions of the show.
‘One‘s always a bit chary about starting anything. It won’t be the Janet that Barbara Mullen created — the woman of 1946 is very different to the woman of the 205. All I can remember of Barbara Mullen’s Janet was the wee wifey who had to do things by a kind ofdevious manipulation because women didn’t have any amount of authority in the 205. By 1946, Janet has more assurance and she doesn’t need to be so devious — she‘s more forward.’
Taking the title role, first played by Bill Simpson, is Aberdonian David Rintoul: not a household name (yet) but an accomplished stage actor. ‘I think that this series has real potential,’ says Rintoul, ‘and it is a tried and tested formula that‘s worked before. The difference is that he’s come back after a hard war. like a lot of men did after the Second World War, wanting the reassurance of everything to be the same, and it was not. It was a different world, a changed world, people were in a state of shock after the war and uncertain about what was going to happen with the country. So there was an strange combination — an air of excitement about how the country was going to change alongside depravation and exhaustion.’
After these illmuminating remarks, Rintoul was submerged under a torrent of inanity as the lady from the Mirror asked him why he hadn’t married his girlfriend of the past eighteen years, and was the lack of children a deep sorrow in his life.
Executive producer Robert Love, in a moment of either madness or inspiration (dependent on ratings) bought the rights for the show from former producers, the BBC. Updating the story from the 205 to 1946, introducing a glamorous new
was its gentle humour.‘
well. One ofthe great strengths ofthe old series
Much of this humour was to be found in the character ofJanet, Finlay’s housekeeper, played as the ultimate wee wifey by Barbara Mullen.
Shooting in Auchtermuchty or not, tabloid stardom still obviously beckons for Dr Finlay.
Dr Finlay will hit your screens sometime in the New
We’ve got the FM
There now seem to be so many ditierent ways of covering the lestival that it is tempting to wonder it we actually need the event itsell. it might be simpler to junk all those rather tedious plays, dance pertormances, concerts and exhibitions and carry on lust the same with a month oi 'reviews’ In the national and local press, on television and on the radio. We could put all the money saved towards paying the wacky, iokey, amateur actors who hand out tilers in the High Street to do something more environmentally sound. No one would ever know -the
Festival FM presenter Lynn Ferguson. show could easily go on without any shows.
Then we could all stay at home listening to the hot grooves oi Festival
FM, the latest addition to the lestival media bandwagon, and, yes, totally unique. “Edinburgh will never have heard a station like this,’ enthuses the station’s Celeste Neil. ‘It’s the biggest broadcasting event ol the year because it’s the longest licence that a lestival station has ever had.’
Festival FM comes to you from the daring creators oi London-based Kiss and Jazz FM, and the blend oi music on otter is daring too: Soul, funk, acid jazz, global grooves and world music on one hand and Irish, Scottish and classical on the other. But non-pop, non-rave, folks.
The station swings into action on Sunday 9 Aug, for the Jazz Festival, and that week’s emphasis will be on jazz, with connoisseurs Kenny Mathieson (the very same) and Craig McMurdo (presumably without his Swing Thang) presenting shows. When the Festival proper starts on Sunday 16 Aug the
tempo steps up with more dance music and specialist music shows, and programmes introduced by an array of stars like Donnie Munro, Stuart Cosgrove and Richard Jobson.
.lo Brand hosts ‘The Momlng Atter’ show, "am-1 pm with divers guests - Nigel Kennedy, Ned Sherrin and Frank Skinner make tor a battling combination — and local club DJs and guests host Nocturnal Emissions Zam—Sam. At the weekend ‘Sporran Bodies’ provides a distinctly Scottish angle on the Festival and lile generally. ‘l expect there’ll be a law Macschemies on,’ says Celeste. Then there’ll be interviews, news, comedy, competitions and ‘advice on how to spend an altemoon on the town’. Anything else? on, of course, reviews. (Miranda France)
Festival FM starts Sun 9 Aug, ireguency 100.4 FM
The List 31 July— 13 August 1992 59