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Free@Last TV sets up in Glasgow to work with Scottish talent on comedy, drama

Agatha Raisin prodco Free@Last TV has set up a Scottish branch in Glasgow and is partnering with local talent on a slate of comedy and drama, including a biopic on television pioneer John Logie Baird.

Marc Pye

London-based Free@Last TV’s Glasgow outpost already has a host of projects in the pipeline with writer Marc Pye’s company Junkyard Dog Films.

This includes To See Ourselves, a drama being made in partnership with the estate of Logie Baird, whose pioneering work almost a century ago led to the birth of television.

The three-part series, which will mark the 100th anniversary of Logie Baird achieving the world’s first television pictures, will be based on the Scottish inventor’s memoirs, originally dictated in 1941 and published under the title Television & Me. The drama is the only officially endorsed portrait of Logie Baird’s life and work.

Free@Last TV has also optioned Pye’s original series Fear & Loathing in Oldham, which will be produced from the Glasgow office and has Warren Brown attached as lead. It comes after Pye adapted the Campbell Armstrong Glasgow novels as dark thriller series Perlman for Free@Last TV.

Launched by Barry Ryan and David Walton in 2001, Free@Last TV is best known for turning the MC Beaton novels Agatha Raisin into the comedy drama series starring Ashley Jensen and Mathew Horne.

Free@Last TV’s Glasgow office has seven drama projects in active development, including the reboot of Beaton’s other bestselling series Hamish MacBeth, which is currently under discussion with broadcasters and finance partners.

The pilot script was written by Johnny McKnight and the show will be produced by Kathleen Hutchison, who has worked with Free@Last TV frequently since 2009.

It is also working with Martin Quinn on his pilot sketch series Martin’s Messes, described as “a uniquely twisted cavalcade of signature characters, each with their own spin-off potential.”

Eight Minutes, meanwhile, is a fast-paced, contemporary medical drama that follows a Glasgow-based ambulance crew directly into the homes of their patients as they deal with medical emergencies on the front line. The series was created and written by David Mulholland-Main.

Free@Last TV has produced over 450 hours of entertainment, factual entertainment and pop culture docs. The factual and entertainment side of the company was rehoused as sister company the Format Factory, which operates out of Brixham under head of development Ben Field.

Joint MD and creative director Ryan said: “Free@Last TV Glasgow will be the base for our Scottish projects, embracing all that there is to offer from established, globally recognisable brands and historical legacy to the new rising stars of the nation.”

Malcolm Baird of the Logie Baird estate added: “There have been two earlier ‘biopic’ projects that aimed to tell my father’s story but, in both cases, the family was not happy with the clearly fictional approaches. We are pleased that Marc Pye’s script will be based on my father’s own memoirs, which have dramatic quality and entertainment value.”


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