HAMISH BARBOUR IS IN AN ‘ ebullient mood. Ideal World, his Glasgow-based production company, is celebrating the latest addition to its already impressive roster - a new cult film show for Channel 4 entitled Vidz. The commission is further proof that a career in television no longer entails migrating south of the border.
’I worked in London for five years,’ says Barbour, a Glasgow University graduate. 'It was great in terms of gaining experience and establishing contacts, but myself and [fellow directors] Muriel Gray and Zad Rogers felt it was wrong that working in television meant permanently abandoning your home. With Ideal World, we've shown that you can make prime- time network television in Scotland. And we were always determined that we would be network-based from the start. If you make too many things for regional TV, you become pigeon-holed.’
Robbie Coltrane’s engine—centric documentary Coltrane’s Planes & Automobiles represented a significant moment for Barbour. ’That's when I knew we could throw network punches,’ he says. ’I think these days we don't have to spend too much time knocking on commissioning editors’ doors. They know our standards, what we’re capable of. With Driven [a new motor industry show currently showing on Channel 4 on Tuesday evenings] we had the strong track record of Deals On Wheels behind us.’
The one thing Barbour seems to fear is respectability. ’We always wanted to make shin-kicking television,’ he explains. ’It’s fine doing cookery and travel shows, but we want to get into trouble occasionally too. I'd hate
Fresh cult ﬁlm so from Glasgow
Road to success: Mike Brewer, Jason Barlow and James May present‘ Ideal World's Driven
us to have a horrible, white bread reputation.’
Vidz could see Barbour get his wish. ’The budget is unbelievably low, but that’s almost a help, because you can’t worry about being polished and presentable for the 8pm audience. The films we'll be covering came about because people thought, "Let’s see how much mess we can make for 50 grand," and that’s the thinking behind the programme. Late night, no money, Beavis and Butthead madness. But hopefully, we can give exposure to the kind of films you don't get the chance to see anywhere else.’
The new show, shot guerilla-style around Glasgow, has its roots in a conversation Barbour had two years ago with Channel 4’s Stuart Cosgrove. 'l’d talked to Stuart about doing something like this, and then, when Steven Keane became head of C4 night time, he put the two of us in touch.’ Nocturnal viewers with an eye for the extreme can catch Vidz from December. (Rob Fraser)
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Tartan-free: The Ultimate Arts Pass brochure
NEARLY 30 EDINBURGH ARTS organisations will benefit from a new agency set up to market the city's arts. The Audience Business (TAB) was incorporated in July as an independent non-profit-making agency, with Lottery funding of £252,000 over three years.
28 THE LIST 22 Oct—5 Nov 1998
It Will begin its work in earnest next month.
’There have been many discussions about setting something up like this over the past ten years,’ explains TAB's senior marketing manager, Marion Bourbouze. 'People felt it was required, but could never agree on a structure.’
Agencies Similar to TAB eXist all over England and Wales, where they have achieved con5iderable success at boosting audiences. Until now, Scottish arts organisations have relied
solely on their own marketing departments or commerCial PR companies.
TAB currently has 28 subscribers: each has paid a fee of 4% of marketing budget; though future subscribers \Nl” be charged 7%. Clients include most of the city’s major festivals, theatres and orchestras, the National Galleries, the National Museums, Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and a number of the smaller galleries. The agency will consult closely with its subscribers to agree marketing and promotional strategies,
New agency ready to boost Edinburgh audiences
which it will then implement. One crucial aim is to address the post- Festival doldrums. TAB Will also work on audience research and development projects.
Representatives of TAB and its subscribers will meet to discuss and develop overall marketing strategies at an advisory forum every six months. There will also be ongorng consultations with arts organisations involved.
With a View to attracting audiences from out of town, TAB has already established a small pilot scheme with the Edinburgh & Lothians Tourist Board. From now until Christmas, 'short—break' visitors to the city wrll qualify for ’The Ultimate Arts Pass’, offering reduced-price theatre tickets and discounts in art gallery shops and cafes. The scheme is geared to redefining Edinburgh's ’tartan and castle’ image for tourists.
The first major advrsory forum is to take place on 26 November, after which TAB wrll swing into action to implement its subscribers’ plans. (Andrew Burnet)
The Scottish Inquisition
Questions you don’t expect. This
issue: Ken Ingles, Director of the Glasgow Film Theatre.
Tabloid or Broadsheet? Broadsheet — and I think The Herald blows The Scotsman out of the water.
Career highlight? A GFT study day on the films of Atom Egoyan, attended by the man himself.
Name a work of art you cannot live without...
ldon’t feel comfortable if there is no servicable print of The Searchers in cinema distribution, and lose sleep lending out my video c0py_
. . . and a law you’re proud to have broken.
I wore my Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres medal from the French government Without permisSIon from the Queen. Devolution should save me from the Tower if Her Maj ever finds out.
Glasgow, City of Architecture and Design 1999: which building should be destroyed?
lbrox, even though my beloved Killies won the cup there in 1997.
The award for the Lifetime Contribution to Scottish Culture goes to . ..
Peter Mullan. My Name Is Joe and Orphans only scratch the surface.
Top Scot for the new millennium? Gordon Brown, if he offers the film industry some more tax breaks.
What should be in the Millennium Dome?
I would reinstate the Scotland vs England football match, With Scotland represented by Bill Forsyth, Sean Connery and Gilles Mackinnon With Ewan McGregor and Bobby Carlyle up front.
What motion would you make as a Member of Scottish Parliament?
l would advocate the allocation of funding for the public screening of non-mainstream, foreign language and classic films in non-profit cinemas throughout Scotland.
How do you see Scotland's future? Bright, if talent is given a chance. lam concerned that too much money and energy Will be spent on political changes. (Compiled by Rob Fraser)