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Monday, 21 February, 2000, 14:58 GMT
Tartan touch for TV tourism

Alastair MacKenzie Alastair MacKenzie, a star in Monarch of the Glen

Scotland's 2.5bn tourist industry is hoping to cash in on a major new BBC drama which has the Cairngorms as its backdrop.

Monarch of the Glen, starring Richard Briers, Susan Hampshire and the young Scottish actors Alastair MacKenzie and Dawn Steele, was filmed in Strathspey.

A second series has been commissioned by the BBC before even the first episode has been broadcast. It goes on 28 February.

Cairngorms The Cairngorms provide a stunning backdrop for the series
Scottish Tourist Board chief executive Tom Buncle said: "Monarch of the Glen has been given a peak time slot and represents a fantastic shop window for Badenoch and Strathspey, the Cairngorms and for Scotland."

Scotland has benefitted financially from films such as Rob Roy, which generated up to 25m in tourism expenditure, and Braveheart.

But tourism officials say television programmes make a major contribution too.

Peak time series

Programmes like All Creatures Great and Small and Ballykissangel have attracted huge interest in travel to Yorkshire and Ireland.

Unlike film, which generally represents a one-off opportunity, a television series builds interest in the production and in the destination over the duration of its run.

David Noble, chief cxecutive of the Highlands of Scotland Tourist Board, said: "We are extremely pleased that such a major drama series is appearing on national television at peak viewing time.

Mel Gibson in Braveheart Mel Gibson in Braveheart
"The area in which the series was filmed is undoubtedly one of the most scenic parts of Britain and I am sure many viewers will want to discover for themselves the locations that appear.

"I am confident the series will provide a great boost for the areas tourism businesses and I know these visitors will be warmly welcomed and impressed with the magnificent scenery."

Monarch of the Glen is being previewed on Monday evening at Drumintoul Lodge, Rothiemurchus Estate, in the heart of Speyside.

The series is one of the highlights of BBC One's new winter schedule.

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See also:
02 Feb 00 |  Scotland
Boom times for Scots film industry
21 Oct 99 |  Scotland
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