Argyll is pure gold to television producers

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A popular Scottish comedienne was among those who made TV shows in Argyll and Bute during 2020, a report has revealed.

While major TV dramas were largely absent due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Scottish television presenter, comedienne and writer Susan Calman filmed parts of her Secret Scotland series on Mull, Loch Fyne and Bute.

And this Sunday, March 7, a new three-part BBC Scotland television series starts called Gold Town starts at 9pm.

Filmed in the Highlands for over a year and a half, it centres on the story of the Cononish mine near Tyndrum, where a quartz vein, hidden inside 2,800ft Beinn Chuirn, contains gold estimated at £200 million.

However, several companies have already tried and failed to extract it.

The series features 83-year-old farmer John Burton, his wife Deirdre and their son Davy who is one of the mine supervisors leading a team of local lads new to mining.

The programme also features Tyndrum businesses The Green Welly Stop and The Real Food Café.

In 2020, Argyll and Bute Council received more than £500 in commercial filming fees for hosting part of ITV’s Don’t Rock The Boat series which was aired in November 2020 and had scenes shot in Port Ellen, Islay, and Oban.

It was presented by former England cricketer Freddie Flintoff, and AJ Odudu from The Voice. It featured celebrities such as Fleur East, Denise Lewis and Craig Charles.

The details were revealed in a report going to Argyll and Bute Council’s environment, development and infrastructure committee on Thursday (March 4).

Executive director Kirsty Flanagan said approximately ‘three confidential enquiries’ are ongoing.

Since the start of 2021, the BBC has also filmed parts of new drama, Annika, starring Nicola Walker, in Helensburgh.

Ms Flanagan said following the lockdown, the Scottish Government had stated that film and television could continue under the criteria that it is ‘essential work that cannot be undertaken from home’.

‘This is under the condition that productions adhere strictly to the industry specific guidance set out by the British Film Commission,’ her report said.

‘The development and economic service will continue to monitor productions coming into the Argyll and Bute area where possible and encourage early community engagement.

‘However, it should be noted that this is not always possible if productions do not require input or permission from the council – this is however a very rare occurrence for larger productions.

‘The screen industries continue to have the potential to not only bring production spend to the local economy but to be a catalyst for the growth of the tourism industry in Argyll and Bute.’