ONCE AGAIN WEDNESDAY: DO YOU KNOW ABOUT MONARCH OF THE GLEN?


No, not that Monarch of the Glen.

This Monarch of the Glen.



Monarch of the Glen was a BBC TV drama series featuring the exploits of an impecunious and somewhat dysfunctional Highland family in their efforts to keep the estate of Glenbogle going after Archie MacDonald, a young restaurateur, is called back to his childhood home where he must act as the new Laird. 


Adapted from the so-called "Highland" novels of Compton MacKenzie, author of Sylvia Scarlett, the series originally starred Richard Briers, Susan Hampshire, Hamish Clark, Alastair Mackenzie, Dawn Steele and Sandy Morton. The programme ran for seven series, from 2000 to 2006, becoming the longest running non-soap drama ever run by the BBC, beating Ballykissangel by one year.

In reality, Archie is not really the new Laird, as his eccentric father, Hector, is still alive, though increasingly unable, or unwilling, to fulfill the role. Archie's mother, Molly (Susan Hampshire, right) uses this as a crafty excuse to call her son home. In the first season, Archie resents his obligations as various problems arise at Glenbogle - not the least of which is that Hector's neglect of the estate has put it in dire financial straights. As the episodes progress, Archie finds himself increasingly attached to both the estate and it's inhabitants, including Lexie (Dawn Steele), the estate's sexy, street-smart cook; the shy and bumbling  kilt-wearing handyman Duncan (Hamish Clark), and a quintessentially Scots gilly named Golly (Alexander Morton). Archie is constantly tasked with making the estate profitable, or at least marginally solvent, and schemes for raising money include turning the estate into a museum, a wedding hall, a hotel and a wildlife park.  As the series goes on, we learn more about the lives of these characters, their connections to one another and their own reasons for wanting Glenbogle, and Archie, to succeed.  


Another of the stars of Monarch of the Glen is the atmospheric setting and gorgeous Highland scenery. The series was filmed around Badenoch and Strathspey - mainly in the Laggan, Newtonmore and Kingussie  area, and the fairy-tale like Ardverikie House, on the far shore of Loch Laggan, became Glenbogle Castle. Ardverikie is itself a grand Scottish estate which, through time, has faced many of the problems that underpinned the stories of the dramatized in the series.

Ardverikie was built in 1878 by local craftsmen and has been owned by the same family since then. It has had a rich history, almost chosen by Queen Victoria instead of Balmoral as her Scottish retreat and ironically used briefly in the film `Mrs Brown' for some scenes. English painter John Millais spent many months here on the estate sketching and drawing. Landseer's influence is also evident within the house, as well as in the adoption of his most famous stag painting for the title of the television series.

You can watch a bit of Monarch of the Glen here, but the series is widely available through Netflix and local libraries.

If you've always dreamed of seeing the Highlands for yourself, consider joining author and guide Sue Ellen Welfonder for Number One London's 2017 Scottish Castles Tour - details can be found here. We'd love to share our love of Scotland with you!


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