Legendary Hawick rugby commentator’s life story converts to the silver screen

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'Voice of rugby' on screen v.1

A Hawick-born broadcasting legend dubbed the ‘voice of rugby’ has had his life story converted to the silver screen.

The world première of Bill McLaren: Fighting the Enemy is to be screened at the Heart of Hawick arts venue on Friday, October 20.

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The film, an adaptation of a successful stage play of the same name, has been produced by the award-winning Firebrand Theatre Company, who have joined forces with the Bill McLaren Foundation and Live Borders Arts & Creativity, the charity trust which oversees Scottish Borders Council’s cultural and leisure facilities.

Bill, the BBC’s senior and beloved rugby commentator for many years, died in 2010 and was also a teacher, journalist and one time rugby player.

The new film is set in 1948 and spiced with humour and nostalgic songs, Firebrand’s typically inventive and moving romantic drama using Bill’s previously unpublished diaries and love letters to reveal the untold story of the sporting icon’s extraordinary young life, including his war experiences at the infamous battle of Monte Casino and his death-defying fight against tuberculosis.

The film, which is directed by the award-winning Richard Baron, is at heart a love story but also uncovers McLaren’s fascinating links to fellow TB-sufferer George Orwell and his struggle to create of one of the most important novels of all time, 1984,while lying bed-bound in a Scottish sanatorium.

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Featuring the versatile talents of actors Crawford Logan, David Rankine and newcomer Dannielle Stevenson, Bill McLaren: Fighting the Enemy has been described as an “endlessly entertaining reminder of the qualities of hope, courage and human resilience.”

It also charts the inspiring life-long love affair of Bill and the remarkable Bette Hill, the woman who helped save and shape the life of the man behind the legendary voice.

The world première film screening will be followed by a Live Q&A with the director and members of the cast, hosted by Firebrand’s creative producer Ellie Zeegen.

Tickets for the screening are available for £10.00/£8.00 from www.liveborders.org.uk

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