A Panamint Cinema high-definition restoration from original film masters held in the BBC Archives, exclusively available direct from Panamint Cinema.
DVD Region 2.
The 7:84 Theatre Company (Scotland) was founded by the prolific playwright John McGrath, his wife, Elizabeth MacLennan, and her brother David. Their first production was “The Cheviot, the Stag and The Black, Black Oil”. First performed in Edinburgh on March 31st 1973 in a production directed by John McGrath himself, BBC Television aired this production on June 6th 1974.
Questioning who has the right to exploit the Highlands of Scotland, McGrath pulled no punches with his explicit depiction of Highlanders being stripped of the plaid, the banning of the Gaelic language and the cruel and infamous clearances. The Victorians and their obsession with stag hunting are mocked by the cutting humour of a parody of “The Bold Gendarmes” performed to the joy of the audience by Elizabeth MacLennan and John Bett. Bill Paterson engages well with the audience, playing a number of dubious characters; Allan Ross treats us to some fine fiddling; and Alex Norton plays guitar and throws in a humorous interlude with a glass in his hand.
The “ceilidh play”, as McGrath styled it, is presented by director John Mackenzie to a live audience intercut with filmed reconstructions of the violent eviction of crofters in favour of sheep, and the hunting of stags. Dolina MacLennan keeps the beauty of Gaelic song alive throughout the performance.
DIRECTOR: John Mackenzie
PRODUCER: Graeme McDonald
WRITER: John McGrath
ACTORS: John Bett, David MacLennan, Elizabeth MacLennan, Dolina MacLennan, Timothy Martin, Bill Paterson, Alex Norton and Allan Ross
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Brian Tufano
EDITOR: Gordon Clarke
SPECIAL FEATURES: 24 page illustrated booklet with essays by Dr Jonathan Murray and Dr Sìm Innes including Gaelic lyrics with English translations
SUBTITLES: In English for the deaf and hard of hearing
BBFC CERTIFICATE: 15: strong injury detail
FORMAT: DVD Region 2 | Aspect ratio 1.33:1 | Colour
ENCODING: Video: MPEG2 PsF Encode | Audio: Dolby Digital AC3 Stereo
BBC TELEVISION BROADCAST: "Play for Today" June 6th 1974
TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 90 mins