Whisky Galore – filming starts in Portsoy

Film, Whisky

The long-awaited remake of ‘Whisky Galore” is under way as crews start filming in the Aberdeenshire village of Portsoy. The original was filmed in 1949 in Barra and was based on a true story.

In 1941 the SS Politician sank near the island of Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland, with a cargo of 264,000 bottles of whisky. Eight years later the film Whisky Galore recounted the story of how the locals raced to retrive the ship’s liquid cargo.

Rab C Nesbitt star Gregor Fisher was among the stars to be seen getting into the spirit in period dress at the Aberdeenshire location.

Based on the novel of the same name by Compton MacKenzie, the inhabitants of the isolated island of Todday in the Outer Hebrides are largely unaffected by wartime rationing, until the supply of whisky runs out in 1943. Then gloom descends on the disconsolate natives. Things take an unexpected turn for the better when the freighter S.S. Cabinet Minister runs aground in heavy fog late one night and begins to sink. The Biffer (Morland Graham) and Sammy MacCodrun (John Gregson) row out to investigate and are ecstatic to learn from its departing crew that the cargo consists of 50,000 cases of whisky.

Sir Compton Mackenzie is perhaps best known for two comic novels set in Scotland: Whisky Galore (1947) set in the Hebrides, and The Monarch of the Glen (1941) set in the Scottish Highlands.

Whisky Galore – the perennial story of a united community putting itself against officialdom and authority has resonances the world over.

In 2013, two bottles from the wreck of the SS Politician sold for £12,050 at auction. They were among eight bottles recovered from the wreck in 1987 by Donald MacPhee, from South Uist.

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