Dallas: The BBC Alba Version

5 09 2012

So Dallas returns to the TV screens after a long hiatus.
But who can forgot the long running BBC Alba series ‘Dell-as’ which ran from the late 70’s to the mid 80’s?
Many critics unfairly claimed that it was a blatant rip off of Dallas, but to anyone who watched the popular Gaelic tv series, there is no doubt that it bore no resemblance what so ever to the glossy Texas soap opera.
Dell-as was set on Lewis and was all about a wealthy family from Ness who had made their fortune from the lucrative Guga-Oil industry. The company had been set up by famed guga-hunter Euan Morrison. Just after the Second World War, Euan had noticed a gap in the domestic heating oil market and found that guga oil worked really well (albeit a lot smellier) as a paraffin replacement. Euan set up a company to sell the guga-oil which he called it ‘Euan Oil’.
Houses across the Hebrides started using supplies of Euan Oil to light their domestic chores, and soon money was pouring in to Euan’s pockets. The TV series was all about Euan Oil and his disfunctional family, plus the intrigues, dalliances and shenanigans that went on in the lifestyles of the rich & famous.
The series was centred on the goings-on in a huge, whitewashed, ‘Department’ house in the village of Dell that Euan had built with the proceeds from his guga-oil. The house was called South Graap. Unusually for the time, this house had three bedrooms and was shown furnished with the finest stuff from Murdo MacLeans and the JD Williams Catalogue.
The cast were always shown wearing the latest fashions from Nazirs & Smiths Shoe Shop, and the female members of the cast were always sporting the latest perm from Salon Nan Eilean.
In the story, Euan had two sons. The eldest was called Johnny Robbie, or JR for short, and he helped Euan run the business. The youngest son, (who worked part time driving the Councils septic tank lorry and was called Chobby Euan) also had an involvement in the Company, but didn’t really get on with JR.
JR was married to a posh blone from Stornoway called Siuthad-Ellen whilst Chobby was married to a woman of crofting & sheepherding stock called Ramella. Other regular characters included Clibhe Barnes, Ray Velvet-Crabs and Lewisy Euan (also known as the Poison Scorp).
The storylines began to get weirder and weirder as the series went on and included alien abduction, dream sequences and countless divorces. However, the series is best remembered for the cliff-hanger ending of the 1980’s, when JR Euan was found face down at the bottom of South Graap’s septic tank, prompting the speculation on everyone’s lips (and also on t-shirts, posters, badges, songs etc) ‘Who Shat JR?’

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Stornowegian merchandising opportunities in film and telly

13 04 2010

Doctor Who fever has hit the nation once again. As Stornowegian kids once more hide behind the peatstack as the latest nasty alien attacks earth, a great deal of attention has been brought on the Doctor’s attire. His Harris Tweed jacket has caught the imagination of fashionistas everywhere and it is predicted that Haggas will sell a further two jackets on the back of all this publicity.

But the Doctor’s jacket is not the first bit of Hebridean ‘product placement’ to have appeared on our screens over the last few decades.

In the first series of ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet’ all of the building tools used by the actors were nicked from Seaforth Builders yard on Rigs Road. The series was actually filmed in the Cearns and not in Germany.

In the pilot episode of Dallas, the producers originally wanted JR Ewing to wear a black church hat, as worn by Church Elders everywhere. One was purchased from MacKenzie and MacSweens shop on Cromwell Street and plonked on JR’s head. However, following the first screen-test, the church hat was considered to be a better actor than Larry Hagman and so was unceremoniously dropped after Mr Hagman’s Agent complained. The church hat was replaced by a Stetson. Coincidently, Stetsons’ became the hat of choice for Church Elders for several years after this.

In the pilot episode of Inspector Morse, he used to listen to tapes by The Lochies as he drove around Oxford in his Jaguar. However, The Lochies were replaced by various opera coves, as the Producers felt that The Lochies were too highbrow for the masses.

In Last Tango In Paris, Marlon Brando’s drarsh were supplied by Lewis Crofters.

The famous Alien from the sci-fi films was designed by conceptual artist HR Geiger, who took his inspiration from a dead guga he encountered whilst painting the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse as a young man. Film fans will recall that the Alien’s blood was acid and deadly to humankind, in much the same way as a guga’s blood is.

In ‘Gone With The Wind’, the actual wind was brought over to Hollywood from Tiumpan Head. Scarlet O’Hara was originally going to be called Scarlet Oh Hearna.

The leather bondage gear featured in Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Relax’ video was made in the back shop of Smiths Shoe Shop, from leftover ‘Arnish Boots’.