COME LET US RECALL THE JOYS OF THE BIG TOON. The Rangers and the Celtic. The Salt and the Vinegar. Pies and Paris Buns. Joseph K. Baxis. The Wonderful Weegee Banter . . . Ah yes. Glasgow's been smiling better for years. Strange that. until now. the city’s portrayal in film and TV drama has been decidedly grim. Thank BBC Scotland for Tinsel Town. the bright new series that lifts Glasgow out of the mire and onto the dance floor.
It happened virtually overnight. some time in the middle of the last decade. After years of languishing in tartan obscurity. Scotland suddenly became fashionable. Various explanations were given for the fact that the whole world seemed suddenly to have discovered this barbarous wee country somewhere to the north of Carlisle. New Labour patted itself on the back and thanked devolution for restoring cultural conﬁdence. Certain deluded individuals acknowledged the efforts of one heroic Australo-American with a blatant disregard for historical accuracy. Others credited invigorating young talents such as Irvine Welsh. Danny Boyle and Robert Carlyle for giving native arts a well-deserved boot up the arse.
a rurausr 3—10 Aug 2000
While most of Scotland’s television drama continues to be ratified from London. the growing interest in all things Celtic has meant an emergence of slightly less cartoonish fare. often reﬂecting the trends and concerns of our film production. Post-Trainspotting. Looking After Jo Jo trod the gritty Edinburgh junkie
trail while Hamish MaeBet/i and Monareh ()f
The Glen gently sent up the ‘glorious' tradition of heuchter teuchter rural Scottishness.
Yet despite its vibrant. cutting edge arts scene. contemporary Glasgow has been criminally misrepresented in screen drama. While Taggart continues its gory investigations despite being well beyond the age of retirement. films such as Small Faces and The Near Room relied heavily on the sordid relics of bloody violence. sectarianism and seedy corruption.
BBC Scotland's major new Glasgow-based drama dispenses with this grisly baggage. Focusing on the lives and extra-curricular activities of a group of dedicated clubbers. Tinsel Town has been developed over two years in collaboration with Glasgow's innovative Raindog company and boasts a cast
Glasgow culture meets This Life as Raindog’s TINSEL TOWN moves into BBCZ's late-night cult viewing slat. vim; Allan Radcliffe
list that reads like a roll-call of the cream of Scotland’s young acting talent.
Advance publicity has inevitably labelled Tinsel Town at Glasweigan This Li/e/Metropolis/Hearts Aml Bones (delete as appropriate). Yet Raindog producer Robbie Allen. who devised the series in collaboration with director Stuart Davids and writer Martin McCardie. feels the programme's setting is almost incidental to its substance. ‘There's been so much in the press about Glasgow regenerating itself which we felt hadn‘t been adequately reflected on TV before.’ he says. 'We tried to show a much more positive side to the city. not downtrodden and dingy as always. But the series isn't a tourist advert. It's more about the city as playground. We chiefly wanted to portray the club culture in an honest way and to show it as part of people‘s lives.‘
Actor Steven Duffy. who plays Brady. Tinsel Town‘s resident boxer-cum-ecstasy- dealer agrees that the series is more human drama than human traffic. ‘Films like Human Trafﬁc bug me because I don’t think there’s any story in drugs. I think people have lives beyond the tablets. Tinsel Town has plotlines surrounding the drugs culture and music. but