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WELL STACKED; Exclusive RAUNCHY NEW TV DRAMA FEATURES SEXY ANTICS AT SCOTTISH LADS' MAG Glasgow makers hope Channel 4 commission six-part series after pilot.

Byline: By Rick Fulton

STACKED is a racy new drama set around the fictional world of a Scottish lads' mag.

In the pilot episode, to be screened on Channel 4 tomorrow, a 16-year old gets a boob job while her sister, 14, flashes her knickers to passers-by and swigs vodka in the back of a bus.

There are high hopes for a full series, the first for a Scots drama on Channel 4 since The Book Group six years ago.

Robert Wulff-Cochrane, one of Channel 4's drama bosses, said: "We particularly liked the fact Stacked explores young female sexuality and identity in a way we don't feel we've seen before in a British show."

The pilot episode, which has a blonde model stripping down to her bra within the first few seconds, stars Mark Bazeley, as Jamie Turner, founder of Scotland's lad mag Stacked.

Mark, who played Alastair Campbell in The Queen, has to deal with Jamie's three wayward daughters.

The eldest, Shona, played by Edinburgh actress Elizabeth Bird, is a lesbian who can't get enough of photographing her dad's gorgeous glamour girls.

Red-haired Ginny, played by Karen Gillan, 19, from Inverness, has just had aboob job - at 16.

And then there's 14-year-old wild child Tallulah, played by Glaswegian newcomer Rebecca Reid, 14, who is an attention seeking madam.

In the pilot she tries to seduce Ginny's boyfriend, Alex (Jack McElhone) and gets flung off a bus for attempting to perform a sex act on him.

It's racy stuff, but isn't just some old man's fantasies. The script was written by former teenage model Bryony Ive, 25, and directed by another woman Jennifer Perrott.

Bryony said: "In British TV, women, especially young women, are represented in a very one-sided way.

"It's all very 'woe is me', they're having crises all the time. You don't see them having fun."

In Stacked however, it's the ladies who have the upper hand and with Channel 4 already sounding interested in the idea, it seems likely that a full six episode series will happen next year.

Producer David Smith's Glasgow-based production company Brocken Spectre were given a pounds 75,000 investment by Scottish Screen from the New Talent Development Fund and a further pounds 10,000 from the Content Production Fund.

David, 38, said: "It's the first time in over six years that a Scots production company have had a drama on Channel 4, so it's a real achievement.

"Stacked is one of the most significant drama broadcast commissions to come out of Scotland since The Book Group and it's great news that it will screen on Wednesday.

"Dramas in Glasgow are usually gritty and urban, either the cop show like Taggart or the drug dealer scheme side like in last week's The Secret Millionaire." (where Nick Leslau, who owns Alton Towers, swapped his life in London for Possilpark and likened it to East Germany before The Wall went down).

David claims Stacked shows a sexier, more glamorous side to Scotland's biggest city.

He said: "We have tried to paint a different picture. It's set in the west end and is about glamorous girls. It's about the pressures young women are under today. It's in the vein of Shameless about serious issues done in an interesting way. It's easy to watch and has a nice looking cast."

In the first episode Ginny, only 16, has a boob job after feeling like a "flat-chested freak" because of her dad's flaunting of busty young girls for his magazine. She uses pounds 4000 on big sister Shona's credit card to pay for the operation.

But she's nothing compared to Tallulah, who wears a mini skirt and stockings and loves to shock, getting her dad arrested when she decides to be snapped in his magazine, even though she is underage.

David says of glamour girl kingpin Jamie: "He thinks he can keep the two worlds secret.

"He thinks he can purvey this female sexuality and sell it to young men but he can also be a good dad.

"He tries to juggle the two but the series, if it gets the nod, will be how his world collapses around him."

In the climatic birthday from hell scene we can't help but feel sorry for Jamie, who pretends he's 40 (although he's actually 44) and is embarrassed by the antics of two of his daughters. By his side and constantly asking if he's demeaning women with his magazine, is journalist Sarah-Jane, played by Trainspotting actress Susan Vidler.

While her son Alex is going out with Ginny, it also is apparent that she could be the stabilising female figure the three girls need.

Although only 23 minutes long, Stacked is packed with plenty to make you come back for more.

It's a fizzing opening with strong characters and some very funny moments. David now has his fingers crossed that Channel 4 give him the nod. Originally from Carlisle, the film-maker has been in Scotland for 15 years and started the company eight years ago.

He said: "I didn't want to go to London, it seemed to be what everyone else was doing. I really like Glasgow so I moved here, thinking it would be an easier place to be broke and to break into the industry."

He has spent much of his time developing new writers as well as making films like Rank, by then unknown David Yates, who's gone on to direct Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and next year's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Rank, a short film about a street gang in Glasgow, was nominated for a BAFTA in 2002.

While David's main aim is to develop young writers, he also has an eye for what makes popular viewing. He said: "I'm interested in making compelling edgy drama, exploring unusual stories that have the capability of appealing to a wider audience.

"I like The Shield and Six Feet Under - they're contemporary but also just really good stories."

As well as Stacked, he is getting the final finance for the company's first film, White Male Heart, which has 28 Days Later star Cillian Murphy and Max Minghella attached. They play deer stalkers in the Highlands whose friendship is wrecked when a woman arrives from London.

David said: "Film has been somewhat depressed in Scotland for awhile but I think we are entering a golden age.

"Hopefully if Channel 4 lets us make a series of Stacked, it'll be another step forward."

Stacked was made thanks to 4Talent and Scottish Screen's PILOT competition, which was launched last year in a search for new writing talent.

Twelve writers were selected, out of around 1200 applications, to take part in eight weeks of paid training with three Scottish independent production companies, the winner being Brocken Spectre, who look like being a new shining light in Scottish film making.

Stacked is on Channel 4 on Wednesday at 12.10am.

'It's in the vein of Shameless, about serious issues done in an interesting way. It's easy to watch'


BARE UP: Top, Tallulah flashes and, above, a Stacked photoshoot; FAMILY TIES: Alex and, above, Ginny, Jamie and Shona
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 26, 2008
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