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April 22, 2009

Langholm to get ‘Extreme Makeover’

When the Borders community of Langholm applied to be one of the communities picked to star in a new UK version series of the smash hit American TV show – Extreme Makeover  – they always knew it was a long shot.  But sometimes these things pay off.  This summer TV star and household name (in the US) Ty Pennington will be in Langholm preparing to film a programme of major improvements to the town.

More detail…..

The Langholm Initiative is delighted to confirm that Langholm has been chosen to feature in the forthcoming series of “Ty’s Great British Adventure”

Last year, US TV Star Ty Pennington visited the UK to film Ty’s Great British Adventure in the Cornish town of Portreath where, in the space of seven days, a large-scale renovation project was delivered at the heart of the community providing a play area and community space to be enjoyed by all. This series was a huge success for UKTV becoming the channel’s highest rating programme ever. 

There followed a search to find two deserving communities in the UK for a follow-up series and following a tip from Liz Forsyth, who had been copied into an email from SW Scotland Screen Commission; the Langholm Initiative threw Langholm’s hat into the ring.  The Langholm Initiative had been working with local groups for many years to improve the facilities at the Kilngreen and this seemed liked an outside chance, but one worth going for.

 When Dave Baines, of the production company TwOfour Productions of Plymouth, who film for Ty Pennington visited Langholm, he was overwhelmed by the community spirit and hospitality he experienced on a wet Monday morning in March.

According to Dave “When the rain cleared and a rainbow appeared over the town I knew we were onto something special.  Bonnie Langholm, the Pipe Band, Town Band, Langholm Playcare, Dumfries and Galloway Council, the Community Council, Buccleuch Estates, the Common Riding committee and many other organisations had representatives there to welcome me. The film footage taken on that day was sufficient to persuade the UK and US team to select Langholm, against stiff competition Langholm has been chosen to receive the Ty Pennington treatment.

The timing is perfect as The Langholm Initiative has been consulting widely with the local community, schools and Common riding officials regarding possible improvements to the Kilngreen so have a firm idea about the needs and aspirations of the community.
In May/June this year Ty Pennington, now a household name in the USA, will be back in the UK, and this time is preparing to film the project in Langholm to renovate the KilnGreen , and to improve the access the Castleholm.   The TwOfour team, together with the Langholm Initiative, is now busy looking for offers of help, donations of money and resources to make the whole thing happen.  The Cornish experience proved that many companies and individuals recognise the value of the extensive TV coverage as a marketing tool for their products and services.  Others simply want to be involved with such an exciting and positive project.  Dumfries and Galloway Council and Buccleuch Estates have been very supportive and contact has been made with VisitScotland, as this is a unique opportunity to promote Langholm, Dumfries and Galloway and Scotland.  Tourism is becoming ever more important to the local economy and in a time of job losses and the credit crunch it is very encouraging to have a local good news story.

 Ty Pennington’s makeover project in Langholm will run for seven days and is then turned into a five part TV series, and a one-hour recap episode.  During the filming Ty and the team will be looking for the whole community to pitch in and help to make a significant improvement to benefit the whole community.
This series is for UK broadcast but TwoFour also has a deal with ABC in the USA for the first series, which is likely to be repeated for future series, and it will also be sold elsewhere internationally through worldwide distributors, reaching a huge audience.  This is a unique opportunity to improve a well-loved local space and at the same time put Langholm back on the map