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Behind bars for busking

Inveraray Jail had a celebrity prisoner last week, when BBC Alba’s Dè a-nis? presenter Derek MacIntosh was thrown in the cells. Thankfully, it was all in jest. The Gaelic-language children’s TV show was shooting film footage to use in its coverage of the Royal National Mod, which takes place this year in Dunoon from 12th to 20th October.

De a-nis presenters

BBC Alba’s Dè a-nis? presenters

Producer Donnie Macleod explained: ‘We wanted to get some film in the bag that can be used to link our reports from the Mod. We decided to have a bit of fun with the presenters’ journey from Glasgow to Dunoon. Rather than hop on the ferry from Gourock, they follow the scenic route via The Rest And Be Thankful pass – and get into some scrapes along the way.’ The team was keen to film at Inveraray Jail and came up with the idea of Derek being arrested.  Inspired by the music at the Mod, Derek decides he wants to have a go at busking. But it’s illegal, so the Warder from Inveraray Jail arrests him, piles him into the van and locks him up.

The Dè a-nis? crew on the day was a small but perfectly formed  team of five and they all enjoyed themselves. In the opening shoot Derek and Siobhan, his co-presenter, walked past the Vital Spark and chatted about Para Handy.  Noisy seagulls and a fit of the giggles meant that that a few takes were needed before Donnie was happy. Then Derek grabbed his guitar and stood outside the ‘Sweet Memories’ sweet shop on Inveraray High Street busking. He strummed (badly) and sang along to a Gaelic ditty (loudly). Tourists with ice-cream gathered to watch the scene unfold. Derek admitted that he did find this a touch embarrassing.

The actors from Inveraray Jail loved the drama too. The Warder, played by Rob Irons, and Matron, played by Hanna Nixon, arrived in the Inveraray Jail van (which had been specially spruced up for the occasion) to play their part. After a quick briefing from the crew, they swung into action. Rob delivered his ‘Off to jail with you’ line perfectly and Derek was unceremoniously bundled into the van and thrown in jail.

Siobhan searched the jail and discovered that Derek had been tried in court and found guilty. But as she made to leave, downhearted at the thought of having to present the rest of the programme on her own, Derek came running down the road and explained that it was all a joke. The joke, of course, is that it’s not a real jail – it’s Inveraray Jail!

The filming was over for the day, but it wasn’t the end of the journey to Dunoon. Derek and Siobhan planned to take a trip on The Waverley the next day and pop into Arkinglass Gardens for a look around. Luckily for Derek (and the good people of Argyll) there were no more plans for busking.

Dè a-nis? is broadcast on Wednesday nights at 6pm and then on BBC Two Scotland on Thursday nights at 6pm. ‘Dè a-nis’ is Gaelic for ‘What Now?’ The two programmes featuring reports from the Mod (and the journey there!) will be broadcast on the 17and 24 October.

You too can get locked up in Inveraray Jail like Derek, but don”t worry – terrible busking skills aren’t usually required!


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Inveraray Jail, Argyll, Scotland, PA32 8TX