Hopes high that putting River Tweed in limelight will boost Borders tourism

Television bosses and tourism chiefs alike are hoping a new documentary series about the River Tweed will prove a splash hit.

The River will be shown on BBC One Scotland weekly from Monday next week, November 7, and hopes are high that the prime-time exposure it offers will spark an increase in tourism.

Though only being broadcast on terrestrial TV in Scotland, the six-part series – not to be confused with another BBC One show of the same name, a 1988 sitcom starring David Essex and Katy Murphy – will be available UK-wide via the BBC iPlayer website.

It’s being produced by Tern Television, the company also responsible for The Mountain, a documentary about the Cairngorms, and The Harbour, about the port at its home-town of Aberdeen.

It will be the second show filmed in the Borders to hit our TV screens in a matter of months, following One of Us, a BBC One drama series shot largely in around Peebles.

Starring Laura Fraser, Joe Dempsie and Juliet Stevenson, it was broadcast in August and September.

The River is about people living and working alongside the Tweed, and one man fitting that description is Tweeddale East councillor Stuart Bell, of nearby Clovenfords.

Mr Bell, also Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for economic development, said: “Hot on the heels of the four-part drama One of Us, a large part of which was filmed here, The River really will put the Scottish Borders centre stage.

“The River Tweed is known across the world for its salmon fishing, and it plays a key role in our local economy on that basis. However, this new series will tell the much wider story about the role the Tweed has in so many people’s lives in the Scottish Borders.

“This is a unique opportunity to promote the Scottish Borders to a nationwide audience, and I hope it will encourage even more people to come and visit this area, take in our stunning scenery and outdoor activities, enjoy our many attractions and our fabulous food and drink.”

VisitScotland regional director Doug Wilson added: “This wonderful series is great news for Scottish Borders tourism.

“The series will help shine a spotlight on the region and let people across the country see what a fantastic place the Borders is to come and visit.

“We are delighted to see Scottish tourism businesses capitalising on this outstanding opportunity and hope that the film will encourage more visitors coming to the region to meet the wonderful people and see the spectacular sights depicted in the series.”

Narrator Cora Bissett said: “The Scottish Borders is a land steeped in history, with its own unique customs.

“It is an area in which history lives and breathes, and the series reflects many of the local customs and traditions from the Melrose Sevens, to the common ridings and the Kelso Races, with the importance of fishing and horses, ingrained in the livelihoods of many in the area, reflected throughout the series’ run.”

Among the businesses and tourist attractions featured are Peebles chocolatier Cocoa Black, Kelso’s Ednam House hotel and Tweedside Tackle fishing supplies shop, and Floors Castle, near Kelso.

Next week’s first episode was filmed in mid-spring and sees the stud team at the castle, home to Guy Innes-Ker, the 10th Duke of Roxburghe, about to oversee the delivery of the first foal to be born there for several years, Melrose rugby coach John Dalziel preparing his team for the town’s annual sevens championships and ghillie Mick Charlton offering advice on catching salmon.

Tim Pilcher, co-owner of Tweedside Tackle, in Bridge Street, said: “Kelso, in my mind, has always been the salmon capital of the world.

“The whole town comes to life, and it’s an exciting place to be when the fishing is good.

“It just seeps salmon-fishing history.”

The River is on from 7.30pm to 8pm.