Scot­land braces for ‘Net­flix ef­fect’ as new TV drama launched

A se­ries about Robert the Bruce will add to a vis­i­tor boom al­ready un­der way. Tourism work­ers are ready, writes Kevin McKenna

The Observer - - News -

At Lin­lith­gow Palace, the birth­place of Scot­land’s tragic Mary, Queen of Scots, the vol­un­teer guides and work­ers are pre­par­ing for a tourist surge.

This 15th-cen­tury palace, a bul­wark of the Stu­art dynasty, is as­ton­ish­ingly well pre­served and al­ready draws vis­i­tors who walk among its stone halls and ram­parts and ad­mire its lit­tle loch. But Frances Murray, tour guide and shop man­ager, knows there are more on the way. Why? Be­cause last week Net­flix launched Out­law King, a pro­duc­tion about the life of Robert the Bruce, filmed in part at Lin­lith­gow. And, fol­low­ing the huge suc­cess of the Out­lander TV drama se­ries, filmed in sev­eral Scot­tish lo­ca­tions, the coun­try knows a thing or two about the TV ef­fect.

“The up­lift places such as this get from tele­vi­sion shows like Out­lander is amaz­ing, and we’re ex­pect­ing the same from Out­law King,” said Murray yes­ter­day. “Some­times, though, we get tourists from over­seas who ask to see spe­cific rooms where some of the scenes were shot, and we have to ex­plain that they don’t ac­tu­ally ex­ist. But this is such a beau­ti­ful and in­ter­est­ing build­ing that they soon get wrapped up in it.”

The West Loth­ian palace was only one of sev­eral Scot­tish lo­ca­tions for the new se­ries, which stars Chris Pine as the war­rior over­lord. The oth­ers read like the in­dex of a tourist brochure: Borth­wick Cas­tle, Dun­fermline Abbey, Glas­gow Cathe­dral and Doune Cas­tle in Stir­ling. And the beau­ti­ful land­scapes of Skye are al­ready up­stag­ing the prin­ci­pal ac­tors.

Visit Scot­land, the na­tional tourist agency, has pro­duced two glossy and sub­stan­tial brochures that chron­i­cle some re­cent world-class pro­duc­tions. On the cover of one of them a moody Daniel Craig as James Bond in Sky­fall stands be­side his sil­ver As­ton Martin with the mists of Glen Coe gather­ing be­hind him. In 2015 an on­line poll con­ducted by USA To­day voted Scot­land the world’s best cin­e­matic des­ti­na­tion. The coun­try’s filmic cred­its in­clude well-known clas­sics such as Brave­heart, The Da

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