Fans of doomed soap take high road to protest rally: Viewers are fighting to save a Scottish television series. James Cusick reports

SALTCOATS Snooker Club members were on a pilgrimage. Led by Jean Butler, the coach party from the Firth of Clyde stopped at the shrine of Glendarroch and filled plastic bags with relics. They were preparing to mourn the fictitious Glendarroch - in reality the Loch Lomond village of Luss - which will fade into history when the Scottish soap Take The High Road is axed by network ITV in September.

The programme's fan club has planned a protest rally for tonight in George Square, Glasgow. 'The viewers united will never be defeated' is being prepared as a unifying chant. However the main rallying call is expected to be 'Marcus Marcus Marcus, out out out'.

Marcus is Marcus Plantin, ITV's network director, the man who took the final decision to terminate 13 years of Take The High Road.

The BBC's Eldorado failed with sun, sea and sangria. Take The High Road failed with parish pump storylines that make the Sunday Post's Broons cartoon look like Dynasty. ITV's statisticians think English audiences have had enough. And without south-of-the-border television companies buying the shortbread tin drama, the final curtain has to fall.

At Luss, where much of Take The High Road is filmed, Mrs Butler was in militant mood. 'They can't do this. If they do, I'll stop watching Coronation Street as a protest.'

STV spends pounds 40,000 per episode and makes 104 shows a year at present. The actors' union Equity says more than 700 actors can work on High Road in six months' filming, making it the biggest drama project in Scotland. The Scottish Arts Council says it is worried about knock-on effects. And the Scottish Tourist Board does not want the free publicity for the Highlands taken away from audiences in Canada, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Turkey and Sri Lanka. STV produces the Gaelic soap Machair, so when the final episode of Take The High Road is shown in Scotland at around Christmas time, the central Scotland franchise, with only a sprinkling of Gaels in its transmission area, will have abandoned an English language soap to leave only a Gaelic one in production.

One of the snooker club members, waving his Glendarroch bookmark, insisted: 'If we lose Rosyth (dockyard) and Glendarroch, it will be a national catastrophe.' They take soaps seriously in Saltcoats.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
news

Sport
footballThe latest scores and Twitter updates from tonight’s games, featuring Bayern Munich vs Man City and Chelsea vs Schalke
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Extras
10 best table lamps
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

English Teacher (Bristol and South Gloucestershire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: English teachers for day to day cover,...

Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 6 Teacher RequiredThis teaching...

SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's Stortford / Stansted

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week