Film Facts

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Film Facts 2017-05-23T14:17:00+00:00
Women film pioneers. The 1971 television adaptation of Sunset Song, directed by Moira Armstrong, was Scotland’s first TV drama in colour and the first to feature nudity. Armstrong was not the first female director to work in Aberdeenshire, however: Mary Field shot They Made the Land here in 1938 for legendary Scottish documentary producer John Grierson, and was awarded an OBE for services to education in 1951. Both women were preceded into the industry by Golden-age Hollywood scriptwriter Lorna Moon, who was born Nora Low in Strichen, Aberdeenshire in 1886, and earned $50,000 a year in the 1920s (about £2.8 million today) despite suffering from tuberculosis..
The days with no night. While not the ‘land of the midnight sun’ exactly, Aberdeenshire is on the same latitude as Moscow; this means that it never gets completely dark in the days around the Summer Solstice (21-22 June), when our deserted streets at 4.30AM could easily play for noon in your zombie apocalypse or ‘last man on earth’ scenario. As promised in Bill Forsyth’s classic 1983 film Local Hero, the Northern Lights are also regularly seen.
A centre for British aviation. Early helicopter pioneer George Davidson grew up near Banchory, Aberdeenshire in the late 19th century and was the first person to give A.V. Roe a job in the aviation sector. Roe’s company went on to produce the iconic Avro Lancaster bomber and eventually became British Aerospace. Edwardian Fraserburgh was also home to a team of early aeroplane designers. The county remains a great place to fly, with superb helicopter infrastructure and the longest recorded glider flights in Europe. Michael Woodley, aerial stunt coordinator for several James Bond films, became Baron of Menie, Aberdeenshire in 1995.
‘We will not fight them on the beaches.’ Aberdeenshire’s mile after mile of flat sandy beaches were quietly deemed non-defendable by the British Army in June, 1940. It was decided that if the Axis invaded via Norway, we would hold them at the line of the Cowie Water by Stonehaven instead. Nonetheless, the rest of Aberdeenshire remains dotted with numerous concrete or granite ‘pillboxes’, relics of the real Dad’s Army that did not survive in such quantity or condition elsewhere.
Mad about blooms. In addition to large-scale production of seed stock, Aberdeenshire towns, villages and individuals are fiercely competitive when it comes to their floral displays, whether in a pair of window-boxes on a Georgian pub or a whole city park. Aberdeen has won Britain in Bloom 13 times in 51 years: an astonishing success rate (better than 25%) for a city competing against more than 40 others in its size class.
An unspoiled landscape. Because Aberdeenshire’s industrial revolution took a two-century nap between the Napoleonic Wars and the coming of North Sea oil and gas in the ’seventies, we were spared the worst excesses of ‘smokestack’ industry. Clean air, clear salmon rivers, a coastline officially recognised as one of the most beautiful on Earth, and a rich history of mountaineering and other outdoor pursuits are among the results. Nevertheless, most of Aberdeenshire is still off the beaten path of global tourism, and thus remains uncharted territory visually.