THE Ideal Scotsman is a sideways look at the changing role of masculinity in Scottish society.
Fronted by cook and author, Rachel McCormack, it uses media clips from the past four decades and current-day interviews with a range of contributors, from top ballet dancers to soap opera stars, writers and medics. The aim is to establish the role of men in 21st century Scotland.
It is being broadcast on Tuesday November 26th 10pm and Saturday November 30th 9pm.
It was filmed by director, Alison Pinkney, and produced by TVI Vision. Here, executive producer, Maurice Smith, answers the questions…
Who commissioned the documentary?
David Harron for BBC Scotland. This is our first commission specifically for the new Scottish channel. We were looking to pitch an authored film and this was a response devised with Rachel over coffee in Glasgow one bright summer morning.
Explain the thinking behind the production’s look and feel
We wanted to do two things with the film. The first was to show Rachel and her contributors in their natural environment, whether that be in pubs, cafes, libraries, film sets, shops or the street. She even made it to a football stadium – Palmerston Park in Dumfries, home of Queen of the South FC.
Secondly, we wanted to look at how men have been portrayed in various film and TV settings, from gritty plays to comedy shows, and whether that’s changed over the years.
The show has a serious subject but we wanted to make it accessible, friendly and a little bit of fun; to get people thinking, rather than feeling they were being subjected to a lecture.
Our guests include author James Robertson, chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood, Sanjeev Kohli and Iain Robertson from River City, and a cast including Chris McQueer, Alison Cathcart, a couple of journalists, some Queen of the South fans, baristas, a barber, fishmonger, a top ballet dancer and a cardboard cut-out of Andy Murray. Eclectic or what?
Who are the key personnel and how were they recruited?
Rachel really recruited me by starting an argument on Twitter. I can’t actually remember the subject but I have the feeling we were actually in violent agreement, whatever it was.
Alison Pinkney is a director I knew about and wanted to work with, and she brought in the wonderfully calm Jackie McLean who is a great booker. The edit producer, Margaret Shankland, spent a month in the edit with Angela Slaven, laughing a lot. They always stopped laughing when I entered the room but I’m sure there’s no connection.
What kit and software?
Canon C300, Canon Cine primes, Avid edit software.
What were the main production challenges?
Our primary challenge was to produce an hour of thoughtful TV within a tight budget and a production schedule. We did all that, thanks to great teamwork and careful planning.
What did you most learn and enjoy from the experience?
A serious subject can be fun and enjoyable with the right approach and people – all the production team and the contributors.