Gregory’s Girl sequel continues Scottish film success

SCOTLAND’S FILM INDUSTRY has received another boost with enthusiastic backing from Channel 4 television.

Two out of the first three commissions by Paul Webster - the channel’s new head of film are Scottish in origin.

Bill Forsyth’s Gregory’s 2 Girls is the longewaited follow-up to the cult 1980 hit Gregory’s Girl, and The Debt Collector sees the directorial debut of Scottish writer Anthony Neilson and stars Billy Connolly.

Described as a ’re-evaluation of the world eighteen years on', Gregory’s 2 Girls sees John Gordon Sindair again in the title role, this time as a teacher at his old Cumbernauld school and with an equally complicated love-life.

A seedier set-up is at the heart of Anthony Neilson’s Edinburgh-based

thriller, which explores the extremes of human nature via a disturbed teenager, a down-on-his-luck copper and a formerly brutish loan shark who is now the darling of the city’s art scene.

Stuart Cosgrove is head of programmes at Channel 4’s new Glasgow-based nations and regions department which opened on 2 March. The office will take responsibility for all programming outside London.

He said : ’We have always been very aware that Scotland has great filmmaking talent and it is great to be able to carry on the Gregory’s Girl saga.

’Production in Scotland has a knock- on advantage which is not necessarily seen in monetary terms but in terms of generating new talent.’

The fruitful partnership between Film


Gregory ll: same problem. more girls

on Four and Scotland was seen most recently with the tremendous successes of Shallow Grave in 1995 and Trainspotting in 1996, but also includes films such as Bent and My Name Is Joe.

But while delighted Gregory's 2 Girls has got the goahead, its producer Chris Young believes it would be naive to see a few success stories as the sign of a bright new future in Scotland.

’Channel 4 doesn’t think "it’s all happening in Scotland, let’s invest there' it just so happens that these two very good scripts have come out of here,’ he said.

However, Cosgrove emphasised the channel’s ongoing commitment in the form of a deal with Scottish Screen worth £300,000 over three years to develop new scripts. (Claire Prentice)

Cafe Graffiti to close as church sold

THE PROMOTER OF the Lizzard Lounge Club at Cafe Graffiti in Edinburgh, Toby Shippey has expressed disappointment that the lower level of Mansfield Chuch, where the club is held, is to be converted into offices for the Scottish Council For Voluntary Organisations.

'It’s really bad news,’ said Shippey. 'At the moment, there’s a really vibrant scene down there that is independently supporting 40 or so musicians who are playing high quality jazz and getting it across to a more mainstream audience.’

In the year that Lizzard Lounge has been operating, it has offered an alternative to the vast majority of house dominated clubs which operate in Edinburgh. As a result the Lizzard Lounge has attracted a slightly older crowd who may previously have thought that their clubbing days were over.

However, conservationists have been battling to raise funds for a £3.5 million restoration of the 115- year-old church aimed at preserving murals by 19th century artis Phoebe Anna Traquair which are deteriorating due to damp. Now the Mansfield Traguair Trust has succeeded in buying the church which means an end to the club nights which attracted 1000 peOple aweek.

The club will be resurrected elsewhere, Shippey promised: ’We will move elsewhere when the conversion happens, but we'll probably put the club on less frequently,’ he said. (Jonathan Trew) I See Club preview, page 73.

24TIIEU8T 6—19 Mar 1998

Help for families ‘desperate’ over drugs

FAMILIES AFFECTED BY drug abuse often have no idea where to go for help, according to an Edinburgh organisation which has launched an information pack to tackle the problem.

The launch comes the week after a report revealed that Scottish children as young as 13 are seeking help for heroin addiction.

The pack includes information about self-help groups and organisations offering advice and counselling in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

The Family Support Network (FSN) is providing it free of charge. A spokesman for FSN said: ‘People are

desperate for help.

’Your whole world can collapse when you find out that your son or daughter or someone else close to you is dependent on drugs,’ he explained. 'Suddenly you find yourself having to deal with the prison system, sooal work departments or the courts'

Hazel (not her real name) from Edinburgh said she wished her brother dead when she found out he was on drugs. ’I wished he would overdose, so that the problem would go away,’ she remembered.

She couldn’t understand why her parents were allowing him to devastate their lives. 'They were both turning

into nervous wrecks,‘ she said.

As her career in nursmg began to suffer, Hazel contacted FSN. She has taken part in family groups to help parents understand what their other children may be going through. ’Billy is off drugs and I keep in touch with him, but I don’t think I'll ever forgive him for what he did to our family,’ she admits.

Feelings of guilt are common, according to the FSN. 'There is still a great stigma attached to being related to a drug-addict. People feel as if it is their fault,’ its spokesman said. 'Our aim is to support them through that.’ (Stephen Naysmith)

little proof of big cats, expert claims

AN EXPERT ON carnivores has warned police to be sceptical of reports that big cats are roaming the Scottish countryside.

His comments followed a post- mortem on sheep killed by an unknown animal in Deeside, which suggested that the culprit was unlikely to have been a dog or a fox. However Dr Hans Kruuk claimed evidence for the existence of large cats living in the wild was slim.

At a conference at the Scottish Police College in Tulliallan Castle, the retired big cat specialist said hard proof was not forthcoming, despite regular reported sightings.

Dr Kruuk has worked with carnivorous species including lions and hyenas in Africa. He told The List, 'These sightings are almost inevitably made by people who haven't seen this type of animal in the wild.

'It is easy to mistake a smaller animal for a lion l have made that mistake myself in the past,’ he added.

Dr Kruuk told police wildlife liaison officers to be on the lookout for hard

evidence such as tracks in snow or mud.

’Good tracks would be unmistakeable. My opinion is that we cannot dismiss the possibility of large cat running around, but it is very unlikely,‘ he argued.

Regular Sightings of panther or leopard-like creatures have been reported from the Highlands to the Scottish Borders, but such animals wouldn’t last long in our climate, he pointed out. 'A puma or mountain lion

would be best equipped to survive,’ he explained.

But Dr Kruuk believes the simplest explanation is that dogs are responsible for most reported sheep-killings, though he said some people would prefer to believe in the existence of big cats in the wild.

’People don't want to think a dog, the friendly animal they take for walks, could do such a nasty thing as slaughtering sheep,’ he suggested. (Stephen Naysmith)

‘n . '- W ,qgrgrairz-r .r—,‘_;;e--” I:

f“ - «wt. , . _ ,H V-

._ . .

. ~v‘fi