If you missed the Live Chat with David Peat, Producer of the
series Scotland on Film, and Janet McBain, curator of the Scottish
Screen Archive, here is what they both had to say:
Question from Cris: I don't live in Scotland and have never
heard of the archive. Can you tell me a bit about it?
Janet:The archive was established 25 years ago and our job
is to rescue and preserve films that reflect all aspects of Scottish
life in the 20th century. Most of the films in our archive are non-fiction
- documentaries, news reels, public info, sponsor films, amateur
home movies, educational and industrial films.
For further information, please see the website www.scottishscreen.com
and there's a subsection on the archive.
Susie Maguire: I've missed most of the series, but tonight
I heard my late father's voice (Leonard Maguire) narrating a 1950s
film on Glenrothes - can you confirm ?
David: Yes it is indeed Leonard Maguire. And we may well
have played as children!!
Janet: There's another film called Glasgow's Docklands from
1959, also narrated by Leonard and we also have a film called the
Great Mill Race in which he also plays a part. If Susie would be
interested in copies on video, please contact us at the archive.
Question from Findlay Hickey: Do you have any plans to release
the series on video?
David: We are at present in talks with the hope that something
might be published in the autumn.
Question from Chris Cavanagh: Do you sell archive material
for broadcast overseas?
Janet: Yes! We do a lot of work with broadcast companies
across the world and we do have a commercial enquiries facility.
Question from Rosie: How much archive did you have to look
through to find the stuff you wanted?
David: It took our researcher 6 months viewing of anything
up to 500 films. Because often we were looking for a shot which
you would not expect to find under the title or subject matter of
the film. So often we might find one shot from one film that was
important for a sequence.
Question from Findlay Hickey: How did you trace the people
who gave their stories to accompany the films?
David: We only actually achieved this in two instances. One
was a film of a wedding in Ballater when we tracked the bride by
asking locally. The other which was in tonight's final programme,
The New Day film about Glenrothes - we traced the people by advertising
in the local paper. We hoped to have achieved more but it is a very
time-consuming process. However a number of people have phoned in
after transmission telling us that they recognised people, usually
their parents. I rather hoped that tonight's immigration sequence
would reveal some of those who were leaving Britain in the 60s.
Question from Scot McMaster: Do you intend to produce another
of these astounding series?
David: With compliments like that, it's very tempting. Over
the next month we are looking at possible themes for a second series.
There is certainly ample film in the archive to support a second
series, it is just a question of finding the themes to bring them
Question from Mary M: Does the Scottish Screen Archive
ever show these films to public? And if so do you visit areas outside
Yes, from time to time, the archive presents public film shows at
various venues throughout Scotland. In the cities we use the local
film theatres e.g. Glasgow's GFT, Dundee DCA. In May, we will be
in Hawick and Falkirk. In June, in Helensburgh in the mobile cinema
'The Screen Machine'. For details contact the archive. Our email
address is email@example.com Hope to see you at one of
Question from Rosie: What was your favourite programme of the
David: I have two favourites. One called Living and Loving,
about relationships, sex and marriage, and the one called Working
Life. The reason is that the living and loving programme covered
such a wide range of emotions, from joy to despair and that the
working life programme touched on a way of life that has completely
Janet: I would share Working Life as one of my favourites.
It was largely down to miner, Drew Hennessy and his account of conditions
underground in mines.
Question from Ian Douglas: Are you still looking for original
material? I know a retired doctor with 16mm he shot of various subjects
shortly after the war?
Janet: The archive is continually looking for more film and
indeed video for its collection. What we will collect today will
become the archive material of the future. Even if the footage is
fairly recent, it will become history in due course.
Our only criteria is that the material should relate to some aspect
of Scottish life.
David: And if you were the Ian in the programme then thank
you for your input. I hope you've enjoyed it.
Question from Julie: How did the idea for the programme come
Janet: We were conscious that there was a great deal of film
in the archive which had never been seen. And we suggested to BBC
Scotland that a collaboration between us would be a very fruitful
way of bringing film material out of the box and onto the TV screens
where it could be enjoyed and seen by large numbers of people.
David: From this motivation, provided by the archive, we
simply had to view many, many films, choose some themes, and set
about finding some characters around Scotland who could reflect
on some of the gems that the archive holds.
Question from Carole Hindman: During the series, there seems
to have been a lot more info on West coast locations than East.
Is this because you have more material from there?
(I live in Dundee and would have been v. interested in more history
of this city & surrounding areas)
David: This is a very fair question. It has been extraordinary
to notice that the west coast of Scotland and Glasgow is far, far
better covered than the east coast. I cannot explain this except
that the deprivation in Glasgow appears to have attracted many filmmakers
and public info films. The outer isles of the west coast have similarly
attracted a different kind of filmmaker, intrigued by remote locations.
Janet: There are quite a number of films in the archive covering
Edinburgh but they tend to reflect the tourism industry, as opposed
to the city that ordinary inhabitants would experience.
David: Possibly in series two, Edinburgh will get a fairer
crack at the whip. It does not in any way reflect our bias, particularly
as the curator is from Edinburgh!! Simply that the richest vein
was from the west.
BBC Host: There are some clips about the Dundee Jute mills
on the Scotland on Film website Carole. Well give out the
URL at the end of the chat.
David: Some of our best material that related to the east
coast was reflected in the working life programme, which touched
on the wonderful Dundee Jute industry and the herring industry.
Plus, some of the earliest footage in the archive is from Aberdeen.
So like the sun, the east coast is up first!!
Question from Findlay Hickey: You covered emigration as a
theme this evening. Are you considering covering immigration?
David: Yes, we had intended to cover immigration. However,
we could find only one film in the archive that touched on this
theme. There was insufficient material within this film to do the
subject justice. It was a great disappointment not to be able to
counterpoint the emigration sequence with immigration, considering
the many people from many races who have come to live in Scotland.
Question from Connie Lawrie: You managed to evoke exactly
the right atmosphere by using appropriate music .well done!
David: Thank you for that thought. Like trawling through
the archive, finding the right music took many hours but some of
the pain was relieved by using the music from the films themselves.
Question from Willie: Janet, how did your interest in film
Janet: At school our history teacher showed us the film Night
Mail (about the postal express train). At university, I studied
Scottish history and I found that my passion for history and my
affection for that early black and white film came together. The
job I was lucky enough to get was as the first curator of the Scottish
David: Scotland should be grateful!
Janet: That was when the archive was established in 1976.
Since then it's been a classic case of a square peg finding her
Question from Nick: Is there anything that you haven't got
in the archive that you would love to find?
Janet: There are two films that we would very much like to
find. Both are Scottish feature films. One is the first ever Scottish
feature film, made in 1911 and it is a version of Rob Roy. The second
one was made in 1921 called Fitba' Daft, which I can only describe
as the Trainspotting of the 1920's. Both films were very popular
when they were released but so far have not been found. We would
love to finally locate them if they do exist.
David: So please shut down your computers and retire to the
attic!! Thank you all for making joining us tonight.
Gordon Highlander William Young and Chindit Stanley Rothney joined
us after the transmission of a VJ Day special, 'VJ Heroes - Scotland's
Jungle War' on Saturday 13th August 2005 to answer questions from
those who watched. Read the transcript of Ask
about WW2 in the Far East.