THE relocation of the BBC drama series, Waterloo Road, to Scotland from England, is being described as a “game changer” for the Scots TV production sector.
Across today’s all of today’s press, the chief executive of the programme’s makers is quoted welcoming the show’s shift from Rochdale to Greenock, with estimates suggesting it could create over 200 TV jobs in Scotland.
In The Scotsman, Eileen Gallagher, the Scots chief executive of Shed Productions, is quoted by Stephen McGinty as saying: “This will be a game-changer for the Scottish television industry. It is very exciting. It has been a long-running ambition of all of us in the Scottish community that we get a big long-running drama because we all see it as a game-changer. If you have a drama that is on television 30 weeks a year and is employing people all year round, from runners to directors to actors to extras, it changes everything.
“In Scotland, even the long-running dramas such as Taggart or Monarch of the Glen, there was only six or eight a year and they still built up to something substantial, but you can’t build an industry with stop-start, six here, six there. You have got to have an anchor, a railway sleeper that everything is built around. For us as the producers, this is the beginning of a new proper industry in Scotland.”
Writes McGinty: “The BBC has commissioned 50 hour-long episodes over the next two years, and Shed Productions calculate they will generate £25million in direct investment over that period as well as creating 230 new jobs.”
Gallagher is further quoted, as saying: “Manchester has Coronation Street, Yorkshire has Emmerdale, London has EastEnders and Cardiff has Casualty now and what does Glasgow have? It now has Waterloo Road. Having a big drama that returns and employs many people means we can now have a critical mass of talent in Glasgow and Scotland, so that we can grow lots of other dramas around it. This is not a ceiling on the ambitions, this is going to help them grow more TV drama.”
Gallagher is also quoted by Phil Miller in The Herald, Gavin Docherty in the Scottish Daily Express, Paul English in the Daily Record, Mark Stevenson in The Scottish Sun and Jim McBeth in the Scottish Daily Mail.