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VIVA LEWIS VEGAS; Elvis in Outer Hebrides is new BBC Gaelic drama.

Byline: By Keith McLeod

BEEB bosses are to launch their Gaelic digital service with a drama - about Elvis in the Outer Hebrides.

The subtitled hour-long show will feature Chewin' The Fat's Greg Hemphill as Presley and is believed to have a sixfigure budget.

The BBC began filming on the Isle of Lewis last week.

It will be one of the flagship films of the new Gaelic service, which launches in September at a cost of pounds 21million a year.

Set in 1977 - the year Elvis died - the plot centres on young punk Tonaidh.

After losing his job and getting thrown out of his band, he starts seeing his imaginary childhood friend - Elvis - again.

Yesterday, Scots-Canadian Hemphill said: "I'mthrilled to be part of this tender story - I would walk over broken glass to play my hero, Elvis.

"The jumpsuit is a snug fit - I've been eating fried peanut butter sandwiches to play this role. Thank you very much!"

As Elvis, he will speak some Gaelic, but mostly English.

Parts of Lewis have been recreated as they were nearly 40 years ago to match the period.

The film is being directed by Robbie Fraser, whose credits include the acclaimed comedy film Gamerz.

It has been written by Mairi Kidd and Torcuil Crichton and the young cast of local teenagers include April Maclean and Rachel Kennedy, with Sean Macleod as Tonaidh.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "Visually, the film recreates the 1970s where the grittiness of this period contrasts with the hallucinatory figure of the Las Vegas Elvis glowing against the greens and brown of the hillside.

"Elvis is a dazzling and inventive Gaelic drama which has surprising plot twists and unexpected characters."

The BBC Trust gave the go-ahead in January for BBC Scotland and the Gaelic Media Service to launch the new digital service, which includes television, radio and internet.

It will cost pounds 20.8million a year, of which the GMS will contribute pounds 10.1million and the BBC pounds 10.7million.


NOT IN THE GHETTO: Greg as Elvis, top. The show will be shot in Lewis, above
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 17, 2008
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