Free@Last TV Launches Scotland Branch


Free@Last TV, an independent production company launched by Barry Ryan and David Walton in 2001, is set to open a Glasgow-based Scottish operation.

The Glasgow branch of Free@Last TV will be the base for the company’s Scottish projects and Scottish talent. It currently has seven drama projects in active development, including the reboot of M.C. Beaton’s best-selling Hamish MacBeth series, 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.

Free@Last TV has partnered for a slate of projects with writer Marc Pye’s company Junkyard Dog Films. Together, the companies are developing a landmark drama in partnership with the estate of John Logie Baird. The series will be based on Logie Baird’s memoirs, originally dictated in 1941 and published under the title Television and Me. The drama will be in three parts. Pye has also adapted the Campbell Armstrong Glasgow novels as the dark thriller series Perlman for Free@Last TV. The company has also optioned his original series Fear & Loathing in Oldham, which will be produced from the Glasgow office and has Warren Brown attached as lead.

Free@Last TV in Scotland is also committed to new writers and is working with rising star Martin Quinn on his pilot sketch series Martin’s Messes.

A fast-paced, contemporary medical drama, Eight Minutes 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 is best known for turning M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin novels into an internationally successful comedy-drama starring Ashley Jensen and Mathew Horne. The company has produced over 450 hours of entertainment, factual entertainment and pop-culture docs.

Ryan, joint managing director and creative director, said: ‘‘Free@Last TV (Glasgow) will be the base for our Scottish projects, embracing all that there is to offer from established globally recognizable brands and historical legacy to the new rising stars of the nation. Free@Last TV (Glasgow) will be the home of first-class contemporary drama and comedy. We are itching to get started on these exciting projects that form our first slate.”

Malcolm Baird of the Logie Baird estate said: “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.”

Pye said: “Free@Last TV are natural partners for me to choose to produce with. They trust writers and instincts. Thanks to the Baird family, and John’s wonderful memoirs, it is an honor for this writer to be entrusted to tell the true story of one of Scotland’s greatest inventors, who was also a father, a husband and an invaluable friend to many. To See Ourselves is the never-seen-before story of John Logie Baird, based on his own words and the personal experiences kindly entrusted to me from the Baird family.”