David Tennant, Alfred Hitchcock and Craig Ferguson are three of the well known faces which have turned up on STV’s YouTube channel.
A Time Lord whose time was yet to come. The Master of Suspense discussing the Father of the Documentary. A top US chat show host investigating his Scottish roots. These are just some of the offerings awaiting TV and film fans on the YouTube channel of Scottish broadcaster, STV, the company deciding to open a section of their vaults to viewers who may have missed them the first time around, or who want to revisit past favourites.
As noted by paidContent:UK back in June, the deal means that STV now joins Channel Four and Five on YouTube, with around 2,500 hours being made available over the coming months.
Perhaps the most intriguing inclusion for Doctor Who fans is the appearance of a young David Tennant in his first television role, an episode of children’s anthology series, Dramarama, from 1988. The Secret of Croftmore sees Neil (Tennant) forced to visit family in the Highlands of Scotland, where he uncovers a mystery which wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of Who itself.
“My name is Alfred Hitchock, and some of you may have heard of me.” So states Hitch in the opening moments of Hitchcock on Grierson, his personal tribute to Scottish filmmaker and father of the documentary, John Grierson. The director goes on explain that it’s Grierson’s Scottishness, derived from living in an “uncertain climate”, which allows him to see deeper into his surroundings than most.
Allowing plenty of glimpses of Scotland circa 1965, and offering a concise overview of Grierson’s work from a clearly enamoured Hitchcock, it’s a fascinating piece of television and a coup on the part of the production team who managed to secure the involvement of Alfred.
Now one of America’s top rated TV personalities, Craig Ferguson once plied his trade on lower budget UK telly, appearing in STV’s 1993 archeology series, The Dirt Detective.
It’s an odd little programme which sends Ferguson off around Scotland to meet and greet various tour guides and archeologists, all the while dipping in and out of a Philip Marlowe-ish persona as he wisecracks his way through history. It manages to just about work, Ferguson an engaging presence in what could have been an otherwise dull and worthy exercise.
Other series worth searching out are 1978’s Hess, a play covering the story behind Rudolph Hess’ attempt to broker piece between Germany and the UK during the Second World War; Alan Cumming and Shirley Henderson in 1987 supernatural drama, Shadow of the Stone; the chance to see the much-missed David Bannen star alongside David Rintoul as Doctor Finlay; and, especially for soap fans, 54 episodes of the classic Take the High Road.
The decision to make so much content available for free, bar the odd advert, is a welcome one and it should be interesting to see what else makes its way to the channel in the coming weeks.
Images copyright STV