Viewers can revisit STV serial Garnock Way once more

Surviving episodes have been uploaded to the STV Player.

High Road and River City actress Eileen McCallum MBE will be a familiar face to many in Garnock Way.

The series, which preceded the more famous Take the High Road, began in 1976 and ran until 1979. Sadly unlike STV’s High Road the programme isn’t complete in the archives.

Over its four-year run, 173 episodes were produced however only four survive to be revisited; with the very first episode from April 1976 and then editions 129, 130 and 131 from September 1978. The last-ever edition was wiped along with the other 168 programmes in the series deemed unnecessary to archive. It wasn’t just STV who were erasing programmes in the sixties and seventies, the BBC and ITV companies also erased tapes to reuse due to the lack of storage space and the expense of tape itself. It was simply cheaper to air a programme, then wipe it and re-record a new show on the tape after.

Other well-known series hit with wiping curses include BBC One sci-fi series Doctor Who, ATV’s Crossroads, Yorkshire Television’s Castle Haven and ITV’s first major serial Emergency Ward 10. It wasn’t just drama and serials wiped, endless entertainment shows were also hit including Granada TV’s music show Lift Off with Ayshea, the BBC’s Top of the Pops and ATV’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

Garnock Way, as seen in 1978, on STV.

Sadly due to the number of episodes of Garnock Way lost it was never able to get an STV re-run, however thanks to the modern age of the internet those who remember the show, or maybe those just interested to see what STV’s serial department produced before High Road, can now rejoin the residents for two hours of drama.

Garnock Way, set in the title town, was based around a mining community in the fictional Rorburn district set between Glasgow and Edinburgh. This production had a much more gritty feel compared to its High Road counterpart which was more “Tartan Chocolate Box” to appeal to a wider ITV audience across the UK. While the gritty side of Scotland proved hugely successful for STV later in the 1980s with crime drama Taggart, set in Glasgow, Garnock Way wasn’t so successful – with only four ITV regions picking up the show, and most dropping it in 1977 which ultimately lead to its demise.

The most famous face to appear in Garnock Way was Eileen McCallum MBE who played housewife Jean Ross in the series. She became best known to UK audiences as village store owner Isabel Blair in Take The High Road for the whole of its run and more recently as Liz Buchanan in BBC One Scotland saga River City – a role she played until May this year when at the age of 82 Eileen decided to retire from acting.

Garnock Way was previously available on STV’s You Tube for a short while in 2010.

Garnock Way on the STV Player

Take The High Road replaced Garnock Way in 1980.


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