High school friends cast as brothers in TV thriller on new BBC Scotland channel

Scottish actor Jamie Sives poses for a photograph on the red carpet. Pic: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)
Scottish actor Jamie Sives poses for a photograph on the red carpet. Pic: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)
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Two high school friends have been cast as brothers who run over and kill an old man on their way home from a wedding in a TV thriller spearheading the drama line-up on the new BBC Scotland channel.

Line of Duty star Mark Bonnar and Game of Thrones actor Jamie Sives, who were at Edinburgh’s Leith Academy together, will appeear on screen together in the first drama to be commissioned for the £32 million channel, which will launch at the end of next month.

Actor Mark Bonnar

Actor Mark Bonnar

They will play panicked siblings desperately trying to cover their tracks in Guilt, which has been written by Neil Forsyth, the creator of the hit radio and TV comedy Bob Servant.

The four-part drama, set in the Capital, is the first drama commission to be announced for the digital channel, which has a budget of £32 million and will launch on 24 February.

It will also show The Grey Area, a drama about “a young rapper, a burnt-out addict and a teenage misfit” made by Garry Fraser, a former heroin addict turned filmmaker mentored by Irvine Welsh and Danny Boyle.

BBC Scotland has revealed it will screen a major documentary series lifting the lid on what went on behind the scenes in the 2014 independence referendum campaign on the channel.

It will be shown in the run-up to the poll’s fifth anniversay and is said to offer a “remarkable insight” into the various camps. Key players have already been interviewed for the three-part programme, Yes/No - Inside the Indyref.

Broadcaster Allan Little will present a separate two-part series - Children of the Devolution - featuring Scots in their twenties, forties and sixties reflecting on how the nation’s political landscape has changed since the 1979 referendum.

BBC Scotland is also creating its own Question Time-style show, while a dedicated news programme, The Nine, will run on the channel from 9-10pm Monday-Friday.

Highlights are expected to include a series which will see pop star Emeli Sande plucking unknown singers from the streets to mentor them for a one-off concert with a classical orchestra. Other shows will go behind the scenes at Scotland’s biggest Asian wedding planners, Glasgow’s Central Station, the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, and at Scottish Ballet during its 50th birthday year.

Highlights from Edinburgh’s summer events, TRNSMT and Celtic Connections in Glasgow, and Belladrum, in the Highlands, will be shown, as will theatre from A Play, A Pie and A Pint, the celebrated lunchtime series launched 15 years ago.

The Scotsman football writers Craig Fowler and Joel Sked will be among the presenters of A View From The Terrace, a “cheeky and irreverent” show based on the popular podcast The Terrace. As well as premiering new instalments of hit sitcoms Still Game and Scot Squad, the channel will show an hour-long special of sketch show Burnistoun.

Viewers will get to see Guilt ahead of it being shown on BBC One, while the Edinburgh-set university drama Clique will be shown for the first time on BBC Scotland after building up a cult following on BBC Three. Bonnar will be reunited with Forsyth on Guilt, which will be filmed around Edinburgh over the next few months, after playing Eric Morecambe in his BBC drama about comedy writer Eddie Braben.

Bonnar said: “I’m hugely excited to be a part of Guilt and to be working with Neil again. The moment I read the first scene I was totally hooked. Neil has managed to write a captivating and breathless thriller which, even in its darkest, most dramatic moments, maintains a pitch black sense of humour. I don’t want to resort to hyperbole, but it is a total rollercoaster ride.

“To be standing shoulder to shoulder with Jamie Sives, who I’ve known since we were at Leith Academy together aged 11, is joyful beyond words. Edinburgh plays a central role itself and I’m looking forward to revisiting some old haunts.”

Sives said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be involved in what I’m sure will be a cracking drama. Neil has written brilliant scripts for Guilt and I can’t wait to get tangle up in the web he has so expertly woven. I’m also over the moon at the prospect of working with Mark Bonnar. It’s quite surreal to think he and I sometimes walked to school together and now we’re about to lead up a terrific new drama together.

Sande will be seen leaving her home town of Alford in Aberdeenshire and heading to Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh to try to find acts to perform with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

She said: “I’m so excited about getting out onto the streets of Scotland to hear first-hand the talent that’s out there. Plucking the talent found on street corners and putting it into a big melting pot with a full-on symphony orchestra is going to be mind-blowing.”

BBC Scotland has confirmed a weekly slot for A View From The Terrace, which will be based on a podcast created by three Edinburgh Napier University students - Craig Fowler, Alan Temple, Jen McLean and Niall McNeill - in 2007.

Billed as “a singular and entertaining view of the beautiful game,” it will explore everything from the big talking points of the previous week in Scottish football on social media to the culinary skills of players and lower league mascots.

Fowler said: “Everyone is delighted a TV show based on the podcast has been commissioned. We’ll be looking to cover all four SPFL leagues and bring our usual blend of irreverence and analysis. It’s been great fun to this point and we can’t wait to get properly started.”