You know how it is, you’re bumbling along thinking everything is fine although maybe not quite ideal, but you’re reasonably comfortable with your lot. Then… then… Something huge comes along and everything changes, perhaps not for the best.
This has happened, just a few weeks ago on our TV screens. You’ll be aware of Waterloo Road, the BBC school drama that crams ten years of normal school incidents into every one-hour episode? It was filmed at a closed school in Rochdale, which was demolished leaving the production company to find an alternative location.
I’d imagine they would have looked for something local or close by the area they were already operating in. Empty schools are obviously assets, which the local authority will want to sell off to get the cash into their coffers, so the search may have been more difficult than perhaps the production company first thought.
I’d loved to have been a fly on the wall when the production company sat the cast down to announce where the new filming location would be. When they said Greenock, I’d imagine that there were blank looks all round apart from the actor who plays the Heiddie. Mind you the look on their faces at that point would be nothing compared to the looks on their faces when they actually arrived in Greenock.
Greenock used to be a huge flourishing town with a very busy harbour and lots of engineering and shipbuilding etc going on. It was a traditional Scottish working town with a population steeped in the Labour Party. Now, it’s down at heel. It has lots of problems with alcohol, drugs and far too many young people with little chance of employment. The Labour Party did little to reward these people who had supported them for years and years and years.
Things have improved, new housing is being built both privately and publicly and there are a few businesses that do provide employment such as IBM along with various call centres and what not. The whole area is down at heel and has been starved of funds for many years.
Greenock is not far, in miles at least, from Kilmacolm, which is a very popular upmarket area, resplendent with a completely original Mackintosh designed house – Windyhill. It’s also just across the water from Helensburgh which is also pretty nice and is resplendent with the best known and still original Mackintosh designed house – Hillhouse – owned by The National Trust for Scotland.
The exposure on TV could well help the area and might attract people to go and visit. It rains a lot though. It’s pretty hilly too. It has it’s very own daily newspaper! It also has a Lidls, a Tescos and a Greggs and it’s about half an hour from Glasgow by train.
I have a client down there so I go down occasionally. I’ll try to get more info on the filming and such like when I’m next down. I bet you can’t wait!