£50 Royal Mile video that made the Proclaimers

The Proclaimers meet David Tennant during the documentary. Picture: Debra Hurford Brown
The Proclaimers meet David Tennant during the documentary. Picture: Debra Hurford Brown
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The Proclaimers got their big break thanks to a £50 video of them playing at the bottom of the Royal Mile, a new documentary on the singing stars has revealed.

The footage, which captured the pair blasting out their song “Throw The R Away” against a backdrop of Holyrood Palace, was enough to win them their first TV appearance.

the upcoming bbc documentary about the proclaimers  This �50 video got them on "The Tube"

the upcoming bbc documentary about the proclaimers This �50 video got them on "The Tube"

And Craig and Charlie Reid became overnight stars after appearing on Channel Four’s cult music programme The Tube in 1987.

The following day the Reid brothers, both diehard Hibs fans, were mobbed on the terracing at Easter Road by stunned fans who recognised them.

The Reids are interviewed by one of their biggest celebrity fans, actor David Tennant, for the documentary, which celebrates 30 years of The Proclaimers.

It also features contributions from the likes of Matt Lucas, KT Tunstall, Edwyn Collins, Justin Currie and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The Proclaimers recall how their careers took off after meeting their manager Kenny MacDonald for the first time while playing regular gigs at the then Nicky Tams pub in the Old Town.

MacDonald tells the documentary: “The biggest thing was The Tube. This was a big show watched by a million people every Friday night. I thought we had to let them see them visually.

“We shot for £50 quid a little video of Craig and Charlie standing on the Royal Mile singing ‘Throw The R Away’.

That swung it around. All of a sudden after that I got the phone call to say they were on.”

Charlie Reid said: “It was massive. We went to the football the next day. We were standing on the east terracing at Easter Road. People were coming up and saying ‘Saw you last night, brilliant, fantastic’. You knew how many people watched the show and the impact it had.”

The documentary, which is being screened on Wednesday on BBC 2, recalls how The Proclaimers were championed in their early days by one of their musical heroes, Kevin Rowland, singer in Dexys Midnight Runners, and The Housemartins, who invited the Reids to tour with them.

In the documentary The Proclaimers speak about their most famous anthems, including “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, “Letter From America” and “Sunshine on Leith”, which is now regularly played at Easter Road.

Craig said: “‘Sunshine on Leith’ is one of those songs that has become bigger down the years. When you play live shows that is probably the one that connects you to the audience, even more than ‘500 Miles’.”

Charlie added: “That’s when you know you’ve got something. When your own people sing your own song. Nobody is forcing them to sing it. It’s maybe part of the club’s culture now and that’s fantastic for us.”

brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk