Molly's Ghost Painter - David
Susan Hampshire, who played Monarch's adorable Molly, waxes lyrically
about her favourite pastime - gardening, a passion she shares with her
slightly-dotty alter-ego in the show.
"I love it, it's my main hobby. I like being at home and I'm very
happy being in my house, I love cooking too. I'm also a better gardener
than Molly!" she laughs.
Susan will admit that it is Molly who has the upper hand when it comes
to another pastime - painting! When poised by the lochside, floppy-brimmed
hat shielding her eyes from the highland sun, tickling a canvas with
a paint-laden sable brush Molly MacDonald is in her element - Susan
is less so.
"Having done some watercolours
as Molly, I think it would be a wonderful hobby to take up. I really
enjoy it now but I've never had lessons. I will eventually, perhaps
when no one wants to employ me any more!"
secret weapon when it comes to her artistic credibility appears in the
shape of her 'ghost' painter, David Fallows, an artist who lives and
works right in the heart of Glenbogle Land.
David has painted all of the watercolours that have been portrayed as
Mollys creations throughout the seven series run. He was asked
to take on the role when the script called for Molly to take up painting
and he was, of course, delighted to oblige!
57, has been a full-time artist for the last seventeen years, but in
fact sold his first painting at the tender age of twelve. His mother
insists that he used to draw on anything he could find as soon as he
could clutch a pencil; the back of bus tickets; that handy roll of paper
in the bathroom; walls - anything that came to hand.
Trained early on in oils whilst at Park High School in Birkenhead, David
switched mainly to watercolour some twenty years ago, but still paints
the occasional oil painting and dabbles in pastels too. Working for
Monarch has been a fascinating experience, he tells us.
The production team would give me a call and say that they needed
half a dozen watercolours for a particular scene, or a couple of sketchbooks
with some sketches and watercolour notes. Sometimes it would be a specific
request, like the part completed scene by a stream with a bridge in
the background that Molly was supposed to be working on whilst out painting
with her boyfriend at the time.
David was also asked to gather together fifty or sixty pictures from
a range of local artists that were all transported down to Carrbridge
Village Hall (Glenbogle Village Hall in the series) to become 'The
Glenbogle Art Competition' in the fourth series.
picture, that was presented as the competition prize in the episode,
was painted in the last few weeks before the cast left, and was signed
on the mount by Susan just two days before she left the Highlands at
the end of series seven.
There are only three of these very special signed originals, and the
lucky winner of one of our series seven competitions now has one of
them on her living room wall!