Hamish Macbeth
Character: Hamish Macbeth
Original Release: 1995-1997
Produced by: Andrea Calderwood, Trevor Davies, Scott Meek, Deirdre Keir, Charles Salmon
Distributed by: BBC 1

Hamish Macbeth, a police constable in the Northern Constabulary, accompanied by his dog, a West Highland Terrier named Wee Jock, keeps the peace in the small town of Lochdubh (pronounced with the guttural 'ch' sound, LoCH-DOO). Macbeth does this in his own way, without undue reliance on the letter of the law and with every intention of avoiding being promoted out of what is his ideal job. He strongly dislikes involvement from Inverness police, and sometimes his main work doesn't seem to be the capture of local very petty criminals, but to keep them away from prison and penalties.

The major running theme of the series is the tension caused by Hamish's attraction to both the journalist of the local newspaper, Isobel Sutherland (Shirley Henderson) and the aristocratic author Alexandra Maclean (Valerie Gogan). Other themes include the clairvoyance of Hamish's friend and co-worker "TV John", John McIver (Ralph Riach), the not-so-secret romance between the school-teacher Esme Murray and the shopkeeper Rory Campbell, the volatile marriage of the publican Barney Meldrum and his wife Agnes, the schemes of the two Lachie MacCraes, father and son, the laid-back, pipe smoking Doc Brown (Duncan Duff), and Major Peregrine Mclean (David Ashton), father of Alexandra and aristocratic penniless bachelor

Cast & Characters

Ralph Riach (TV John McIver), Brian Pettifer (Rory Campbell), Stuart Davids (Lachie McCrae Jr.), Anne Lacey (Esme Murray), Barbara Rafferty (Agnes Meldon), Stuart McGugan (Barney Meldon), Shirley Henderson (Isobel Sutherland), Duncan Duff (Doc Brown), David Ashton (Maj. Roddy Maclean), Brian Alexander (Jubel), Mona Bruce (Edie), Anne Kristen (Miss Meikeljohn), Campbell Morrison (Harry Balfour), Morag Hood (Doloris Balfour), Billy Riddoch (Lachlan McCrae), Valerie Gogan (Alex Maclean), Jimmy Yuill (Lachlan McCrae), Dolina MacLennan (Flora), Rab Christie (Jimmy Soutar), Sandy McDade (Jean Foley), Iain McColl (Neil the Bus), Stephen Henderson (Frankie Brice), Ronnie Letham (Peter the Fireman), Jake D'Arcy (Scott), John Grieve (Herman)

Filming Locations:
  • Kyle of Lochalsh, Highland, Scotland, UK
  • 43 Harbour Street, Plockton, Highland, Scotland, UK (Lochdubh Hotel and Stag Bar)
  • Balmacara Hotel, Balmacara, Highland, Scotland, UK (Stag Bar)
  • Plockton, Highland, Scotland, UK
  • Staffin, Skye, Highland, Scotland, UK
  • The Rhu, Plockton, Highland, Scotland, UK
  • Plockton Craft Shop, Bank Street, Plockton, Highland, Scotland, UK (Rory Campbell's shop)
  • Because of copyright problems with the use of excerpts from 'West Side Story' in the episode "Hamish Macbeth: West Coast Story" (1x04), that episode was omitted from all VHS and DVD releases of the series.
  • Simon, otherwise known as Seth to the crew, is still a gravedigger and now works as a rigger in the entertainment industry in the arenas in the North West of England and is otherwise known as Digger.
  • The series was filmed on location in the village of Plockton, the town of Kyle of Lochalsh and the surrounding area. A map of the Lochdubh area shown in the episode "In Search of a Rose" places Lochdubh close to Toscaig, just to the north of Kyle of Lochalsh, with Lochdubh Island being part of the Crowlin Islands.
  • The series was directed mainly by Nicholas Renton, with Mandie Fletcher directing four episodes and Jonas Grimås directing two episodes in 1997.

Memorable Quotes

Hamish Macbeth: I cannae take this Isobel. It’s living a lie. I’ve had enough.

Quotes from Cast & Crew

''I'll miss it. For the very selfish reason that I won't get four months in the Highlands every year. Everyone concerned is quite content to finish up now. I think that, because the stories were often so extreme, that there are only so many tales you can tell before you start dropping your standards.
- Robert Carlyle

''I always thought that three series would be enough. It doesn't matter what the piece of drama is, you are fortunate if you can take it past three seasons. The great thing about Hamish was its capacity to surprise and that is extremely difficult to sustain. We would have reached a stage where there were no surprises any longer. If we'd gone past three series then that's when we'd have started getting the wee digs from the critics.''
- Robert Carlyle

''Sure, they would have gone on with it. But I didn't want to because I knew that, if I did, I would start to hate it; that I'd begin to resent the character. As it is, it has been a pleasure right up to the very last day. And we've left it open. We could come back to it. It's the old expression - never say never - and perhaps in a few years time we could return, maybe in a slightly different form."
- Robert Carlyle

''TV John was Hamish's surrogate father and, in a way, Ralph almost became that for me. We had known each other before we started the series and, during the filming, we struck up this really fantastic friendship. So, in that respect, I was sad that I would not get a chance to continue working with him. There was just this tremendous feeling of moving on,'' he says.
- Robert Carlyle

'Well, for me there always has to be something within the character that I can identify with. Hamish is prob-ably easier in that respect than most, but he is actually every bit as complicated as, say Begbie, in Trainspotting.
- Robert Carlyle

''From my own personal tastes, I think it worked best when it was at its darkest - in those episodes where Hamish maybe goes off to some remote island and meets these strange, strange people. It's no secret to the production team that sometimes I thought they softened it too much when they could have gone much further with the black comedy. I think it always worked best when it was dark. When it became lighter, that was when it began to lose its soul. If I'm honest, I think there were maybe one or two episodes which didn't quite come up to the mark. But when Danny Boyle was writing and Nick Renton was directing, it was a drama which said a helluva lot more than a 7.15 on a Sunday night show had a right to."
- Robert Carlyle

''I was not hugely comfortable with the comedy. It is not something which has come my way in the past. If I get to choose what I want to do I then go down a darker road and that makes the characterisation more interesting. But I have nothing but the utmost respect for actors who can make people laugh."
- Robert Carlyle

''Hamish Macbeth sees himself as the sheriff of a one-horse town, with the role of keeping the peace.''
- Robert Carlyle

Awards & Nominations

BAFTA TV Awards (1998) - Best Actor - Robert Carlyle
BAFTA TV Awards (1997) - Best Drama Series - Deirdre Keir, Trevor Davies
BAFTA Scotland Awards (1997) - Best Actor - Television - Robert Carlyle
BAFTA Scotland Awards (1995) - Best Actor - TV - Robert Carlyle
Royal Television Society Awards (1996) - Best Actor - Male - Robert Carlyle

Season Guide

Season 1 (1995)
Season 2 (1996)
Season 3 (1997)

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