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John Byrne Tutti Frutti follow-up set for revival

John Byrne's follow-up to Tutti Frutti - Your Cheatin' Heart - is to be revived after nearly 25 years. Picture: Robert Perry

John Byrne's follow-up to Tutti Frutti - Your Cheatin' Heart - is to be revived after nearly 25 years. Picture: Robert Perry

  • by BRIAN FERGUSON
 

IT WAS the country and western series set in the west coast of Scotland that helped make a star out of Tilda Swinton.

Now Your Cheatin’ Heart, John Byrne’s forgotten follow-up to classic comedy-drama Tutti Frutti is finally set for a revival - 23 years after its original broadcast.

It is set to be a centrepiece of Scotland’s newest film festival, which is being staged in the seaside town of Dunoon next month, with Byrne and one of Swinton’s co-stars, singer Eddi Reader set to guests of honour.

Gregory’s Girl star John Gordon Sinclair played opposite Swinton as the leads in Your Cheatin’ Heart, which was never repeated, despite plans by the BBC to do so at the time, and has never been released on DVD.

Byrne himself says there is “no chance” the programme will ever be broadcast again because of BBC snobbery over Scottish accents and an obsession with soap opera and American dramas.

However he described the series as “much better” than Tutti Frutti in his eyes, even though the tone was deliberately darker. Ken Stott and Peter Mullan landed early roles in the show.

Byrne and Reader will be at the opening night of the three-day festival to introduce the first two episodes, with the remaining four instalments being shown over the weekend.

Other highlights include a rare screening of Drifters, John Grierson’s 1929 doucmentary about North Sea herring fishermen, a series of tribute screenings devoted to the work of Greenock screenwriter Alan Sharp, who died earlier this year, including Rob Roy, and revivals of classic Scottish films like Local Hero and The Maggie.

Crowd-sourced documentary We Are Northern Lights and a new portrait of artist Alasdair Gray will also be part of the programme, which runs from 14-16 June. It will accompanied by an exhibition of archive pictures of Hollywood stars like Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, Grace Kelly and Deborah Kerr visiting Scotland.

Despite the huge success of Tutti Frutti in 1987, Byrne was unkeen that any of its cast appear in the follow-up, with only Katy Murphy reappearing. Byrne had a long relationship with Swinton, who was a relative unknown to TV audiences at the time of the broadcast.

Byrne told The Scotsman: “I thought it was better than Tutti Frutti myself.

“I was very pleased with it at the time and it got 3.5 million viewers, but despite being paid for a repeat, it was never shown again.

“The thing I remember is that as well as being a really dark story, it was also really cold and dark when we were making it in Glasgow and Aberdeen.

“I was the designer of everything on the show, so I was on the set for all 56 days of the shoot. It was absolutely freezing.

“Tilda had been in just one TV programme before Your Cheatin’ Heart and Eddi Reader hadn’t done any acting at all, but took to it brilliantly. I don’t think she’s even done anything since, but she was word perfect in Your Cheatin’ Heart.

“It has been a bit forgotten about, as you don’t really hear people asking for a repeat.

“I’m really pleased it’s going to be on at the film festival, as I have great memories of going to Dunoon as a youngster, and I know there’s no danger of the BBC ever showing it again.

“They just aren’t interested in drama series like that these days. It’s all about soap operas and long-running American series. I haven’t even had a TV set for around 15 years.”

Full details of the event are available at www.dunoonfilmfestival.org

 

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