Made Here: Peter Darrell – Scotland’s Dance Pioneer

TWENTY-five years on from his death, the founder of Scottish Ballet, Peter Darrell, is to be the subject of an appreciation on the ArtWorks Scotland strand, on BBC Scotland.

Says the BBC: “Darrell was a true innovator – the first choreographer to set dance to the music of The Beatles and one of the first to create a ballet specially for British television – and the man who discovered Michael Clark and inspired Matthew Bourne, who both pay tribute to him in this film.”

The programme is being transmitted on Tuesday, on BBC Two Scotland, from 2200-2230.

Producer-director, Elly Taylor, of the programme’s makers, Taylored Productions, answers our questions…

Who commissioned the productions?

Ewan Angus, at BBC Scotland, via Andrew Lockyer – executive producer on ArtWorks Scotland, who championed it.

Explain the thinking behind the production’s ‘look and feel’

There hadn’t been a film made about Peter Darrell and his many achievements and I felt passionately about doing such a film. It is the 25th anniversary of his death this year and it was the perfect opportunity to make this documentary.

Peter was a ground-breaking choreographer and the founder of Scottish Ballet.

As the film was about dance, it necessitated high production values to bring the past into the present. The backbone of the film is a pas de deux from Darrell’s ballet, ‘Cheri’, performed by two of Scottish Ballet’s dancers, seeing them in rehearsal through to performance at The Tramway in Glasgow.

Who are the key personnel? How were they recruited?

Douglas Campbell – film cameraman

Allan Young – sound

Joan Raba – production manager

Phyllis Ironside – off-line editor

I knew them all personally from my BBC days and had worked with them before on independent productions. I was confident I could rely upon them to do a good job.

What kit and software?

Shot on XD cam on a Sony 750 camera. Edited on Avid and onlined at Serious Facilities. Dubbed at Salavas. Both companies based in Glasgow.

What have been the main production challenges?

Delivering a film with high production values, high-profile contributors and a large amount of archive on a small budget.

What did you most learn and enjoy from the experience?

That you require patience and determination to get high-profile key interviewees in place. Scheduling became difficult because of this and costly. However, I have enjoyed telling Peter Darrell’s story and getting it out to a wider audience.