The making of Tannadice 87

I’ve been working on the pre-production of my new film project for a while now but yesterday I finally began shooting Tannadice 87. That’s a great place to be!

The film is an aspirational tale, rooted in popular culture, showcasing a snapshot of one of the most dynamic periods in the city of Dundee’s sporting history. It follows the story of a remarkable period for Dundee United and will be broadcast on BBC ALBA in early summer (date to be announced!).

2017 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the year that Dundee United FC achieved what many believed to be an impossible dream; they reached the final of the prestigious UEFA Cup, beating European giants Barcelona and Borussia Mönchengladbach en-route to a two legged finale against Gothenburg in 1987.

With Jim McLean at the helm, one of three legendary footballing brothers from Larkhall near Glasgow, United rose from mediocrity to monumental status when for a sustained period in the 1980s they constituted greatness.

Scottish League Champions in 1983, despite the dominance of Sir Alex Ferguson’s European Cup Winners’ Cup celebrants Aberdeen FC, McLean’s United reached the semi-final of the European Cup in 1984 and pushed on to their finest hour just three years later.

The UEFA Cup final was watched by a TV audience of over 70 million viewers and at the second leg, Dundee, a city with a reputation for jam, jute and journalism added a fourth ‘j’ to its trademark: jubilation. Tannadice ’87 tells the remarkable story of Dundee United’s European adventure of 1987, a journey that ultimately ended in defeat, but resulted in a win for Scotland when FIFA created their now infamous Fair Play Award in respect of the Dundee United fans’ admirable sporting behaviour. In ‘87, dreams became reality.

I’m making the film with my company purpleTV and we’ve got a wonderful slate behind us. Jock Stein  and Jim Baxter won Royal Television Society Scotland award for best programme. Gothenburg 83 and Tartan Pride received nominations. My feature-length Jimmy Johnstone film has just been submitted for this year’s awards and I anxiously wait to hear if it will receive a nomination…

These are brilliant narratives, about people and culture and they form an integral element of history. Storytelling are at the heart of them.

So, onwards, back to shooting and powerful narratives and strong voices waiting to be shaped and written.

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