Edinburgh’s tourism industry is set to get an unlikely new ambassador – when a fictional TV incarnation of the nation’s police chief is let loose in the city.
Commissioner Cameron Miekelson, the bungling and self-obsessed figurehead in the hit BBC Scotland police ‘mockumentary’ Scot Squad, has been handed his own spin-off travel series lifting the lid on the Scottish capital’s culture, history and geography.
But The Chief Does Edinburgh sees Jack Docherty’s out-of-uniform character mocking The Proclaimers, Ian Rankin, Irvine Welsh and “Jakey Rowling”, describing Edinburgh Castle as a “fridge magnet motif”, poking fun at the royal family and making light of the 16th-century abduction of Mary, Queen of Scots. Miekelson’s attempts to outdo TV travel gurus Michael Palin and Michael Portillo falls foul of Rankin when he pitches his own children’s book “Cammy The Dog” to the author in the Oxford Bar, recreates the start of Trainspotting by reciting his own “Choose Life” monologue running along Princes Street and is confronted by an inspector on an Edinburgh tram for failing to have a ticket.
He suggests The Proclaimers’ anthem 500 Miles was written “out of sheer exhaustion at trying to navigate their way around the city” and that Harry Potter creator Rowling was inspired to write her famous tale of “an heroic figure to personify good against evil” after spotting a “handsome policeman” running past the window of the Elephant House cafe.
The show opens with Miekelson waxing lyrical about his home city, branding it “Scotia’s utopia, Barry-town, Gadgies’ Paradise, Glesga with a makeover and The Chief of Capitals”.
Scot Squad, a spoof BBC mockumentary on Scotland’s new national police force, has been a huge hit since it was first aired in 2014, with five series being made to date.
Docherty, who was born in Edinburgh, said: “When we first talked about doing a spin-off, I was initially reluctant to do it, as I just couldn’t imagine him out of his uniform.
“But then we found a uniform for presenting the show. A black turtleneck sweater and a camel hair coat are the sort of things he would think he looks great in, but he actually looks like a gangster. We did a lot of filming of him strolling around as a ‘King of Edinburgh’ and generally being an arse.”
Docherty added: “He just cannot keep his ego out of it. It’s really just a little parody of that genre, a bit like when Alan Partridge went around England.”
Docherty said further instalments of the spoof travelogues, which will be launched on the BBC Scotland iPlayer on Thursday after the last in the new series of Scot Squad is shown, are already in discussion. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is top of his wish list for future instalments.
“We’ll see how they go down,” Docherty said. “The guys who are in charge of Scot Squad are already talking about taking it elsewhere around Scotland. Obviously I am suggesting going to the Bahamas.”
Docherty admits serving police officers seem to be amongst the biggest fans of the show, especially for his portrayal of Miekelson.
He said: “I’ve met lots of serving officers. They all tell me they love it.
“The worrying thing is they always ask who we have got on the inside because they feel it is all so true..”