by Margaret Chrystall
THE TV writers of hit BBC comedy Outnumbered wanted a bigger landscape for their debut feature film and all-star cast – so came to the Highlands.
And Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin had no problem finding the perfect beach for a crucial scene in What We Did On Our Holiday – filmed at Redpoint in Wester Ross.
Speaking this week, Andy explained: "My wife’s family are from Nairn so we know the Highlands pretty well, we’ve had many holidays up there."
Guy added: "It was one of Andy’s relations in Nairn who actually pointed us in the direction of the beach south of Gairloch. When we came over that hill we really thought ‘Yes this is where we want to film it!’. You have a rough picture in your head and that was certainly very close – if not better."
The film is a hilarious journey through the McLeod family holiday – with Billy Connolly, David Tennant and Rosamund Pike playing main characters – as a young family heads North for a break and a grandad’s big birthday party. But there are two big secrets that want to fight their way out.
Guy explained: "We wanted to do a big story where extraordinary things could happen and people could change."
Billy Connolly plays Gordie, the family’s feisty grandad, in a role the writers hoped would tempt him.
Andy said: "Pretty much from day on, we thought Billy would be the perfect casting for the part. We hoped he’d be attracted to it and he was."
But the landscape, the duo say, plays its own starring role too.
Guy said: "We wanted a landscape that would almost be a character where these children from London could run wild and a landscape that when there were people in it made them look small!
"There is certainly nowhere else in Britain, possibly Europe, that offers that landscape."
Unfortunately it included midges ...
Andy said: "We were pretty lucky, there was a nice breeze most of the time, but there was one night when the wind dropped and the midges came out in massive numbers."
Guy added: "But we were very lucky in the weather during filming, we barely lost any time to rain or sleet.
"I think we felt that a few billion midges was fair enough!"
What We Did On Our Holiday is on at Vue this week. Watch the trailer below ...