Hawick teenagers dare to scare with online ghost story

Peebles has been in the national limelight over the last month as the setting for the BBC1 drama series One of Us, and now Hawick is about to get its 15 minutes of fame too.

David Chipakupaku, Elizabeth Bowie and Rachel Goldie in Grave Matters, an online drama series.
David Chipakupaku, Elizabeth Bowie and Rachel Goldie in Grave Matters, an online drama series.

The town forms the backdrop for a new YouTube series, and it’s set to run for more than 10 times as long as Andy Warhol’s proverbial quarter of an hour in the spotlight.

Launching on Monday, September 19, at 9pm, the online show, titled Grave Matters, was filmed entirely in and around Hawick, and it stars several young people from the town.

The series is written and directed by Julia Adams, 21, an Edinburgh University law graduate.

Lauren Cardwell and Vaishnavi Ramu in Grave Matters.

She lives int Hawick’s old Haig Maternity Hospital, and that, she said, “provided the inspiration for the house in the series, minus the murder mystery aspect of course”.

The series is billed as a mixture of horror, mystery, comedy and drama.

“Created, produced by, and starring, a number of young talents from Hawick and the wider Borders, Grave Matters is a thoroughly Scottish production and proud to be so,” said Adams.

“Sadly, much of Scotland’s film industry is neither youth-based nor youth-orientated.

Lauren Cardwell and Vaishnavi Ramu in Grave Matters.

“Our aim in setting the series in a rural, albeit fictitious, Scottish town is to highlight and showcase Scotland as the beautiful and diverse country it is, and hopefully encourage the return of the film and entertainment industry.”

The series tells the tale of Donna Blackfoot, 16, a resident of the fictional town of Wulfstankirk, as she and her friends attempt to solve a decades-old cold case involving ghostly goings-on, courtesy of the spirit of a murder victim, while “enduring school, parents and unreliable public transport”.

Most of its cast are aged between 16 and 19, and the oldest member of the crew is just 21.

Its cast comprises Elizabeth Bowie, Rachel Goldie, David Chipakupaku, Vaishnavi Ramu, Caitlin Morris, Declan Crabtree, Lauren Cardwell, Mark Messer, Jasmine Beckham, Frances Goldie, Rob Goldie, Fiona Mackie, Merjin Schepens and Mark Riddell. Almost every cast member has some acting experience.

The idea for the series came from a short story written by Bowie, previously seen on TV in Amazon Prime’s Outlander.

“As soon as I read it, I thought ‘we can make something out of this’,” said Adams.

Grave Matters will consist of 30 episodes of between five and seven minutes in length, and running alongside them will be 12 add-on videos lasting one to two minutes to help flesh out the story.

The series was shot in only two weeks, wrapping up last Sunday, and it has since been edited by Adams. “It was a really busy couple of weeks,” she said.

The production has been in progress for around six months, and with much of the cast still at school, their summer holidays provided the ideal opportunity to shoot the series.

“I find that during summer, you get away on your holidays for a couple of weeks and then you’re sat around doing nothing for ages,” said Adams.

Future school holidays might prove busy too as scope has been left for a possible return to Wulfstankirk sequel.

“This series gets wrapped up by the end, but there’s definitely potential to go back there, if we want,” said Adams.

Go to www.facebook.com/gravematterstheseries for details, or www.youtube.com/channel/UCs9bwjHOJwLGMzv-mM9aepw