Jim McLean: Poignant film on late Dundee United manager leaves lump in throat

Smile, a play about Jim McLean, embarked on its initial run last February, just prior to the first lockdown. It means some people’s last night out was in the company of a character not known for his love of a good time.

Former Dundee United manager Jim McLean passed away last Boxing Day.

What he was known for was his devotion – almost to a fault – to making Dundee United better.

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The production had hoped to transfer elsewhere following its near month-long residency at Dundee Rep. The pandemic put paid to that idea. But in many cases, art has found new ways to survive. Rep Studios is a new digital platform showcasing a season of theatre, dance and music. Barrie Hunter has reprised his brilliant portrayal of McLean specifically for film. It began streaming online last night.

The legendary Dundee United manager’s death on Boxing Day has added new poignancy to a play that left numerous lumps in the throat anyway.