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Just Janice: it's so refreshing to watch off-the-beaten track Scottish drama

Brian Cox is back on our TV screens next week - the Emmy-winning Dundonian actor, not the youthful Physics Prof who's never off the box.

Dundonian actor Brian Cox is back on screens
Dundonian actor Brian Cox is back on screens

The thesp is playing the title role in Bob Servant Independent - the new TV comedy about the ridiculous, larger than life, local businessman, which follows on from the popular books and radio series written by Neil Forsyth (no relation).

In the TV series, the self-aggrandising Dundee Mr Big launches himself into the world of politics by running as an independent candidate in the local by-election. The problem is that the so-called 'man of the people' doesn't actually like people. Not like real-life politicians at all, then.

In the way that Ken Stott is a perfect fit as Ian Rankin's Rebus, it's hard to imagine anyone other than Cox play Servant - and he has a perfect sidekick in his hapless campaign manager, Frank, played by Jonathan Watson.  Neil Forsyth's script is cracking, but another factor that sets the show apart from the majority of TV comedies is its setting - Broughty Ferry.

It's so refreshing to watch a Scottish TV show that's not set in Glasgow or Edinburgh; just brilliant to have a scene where the main characters walk down a street that's not lined with tenements, and where the view at the end of it is of a bright orange RNLI lifeboat. What a pleasant change from the usual Central Belt fare - the Taggarts, Rab C Nesbitts, Lip Service, and a bunch of comedy sketch shows which are invariably set in Glasgow.

At a preview screening at the stunning Gardyne Theatre this week, the Bob Servant producer revealed that when he was pitching the idea to southern commissioners, they presumed that Broughty Ferry was a fictional town. Jings, these Londoners are so provincial. After all, part of the joy of Danish dramas such as Borgen or The Killing is to be immersed in a new culture, a different land or cityscape.

More off-the-beaten track drama please - how about a murder mystery in Melrose or a thriller in Thurso?

Meanwhile, there's marvellous art in Milngavie,as an intriguing exhibition called Making The List opens at the Lillie Art Gallery this weekend.  Taking her inspiration from Truman Capote's famous black and white ball at the Plaza Hotel in New York in 1966, Glasgow artist Diane Dawson's work explores ideas about inclusion and exclusion.

Capote's was the first party of its kind to mix the worlds of politics, business, celebrity and art, and the first time anyone had staged a social event with such a carefully engineered mythology to accompany it - to NOT be included on the guest list meant you had to leave town to avoid embarrassment. Meanwhile, the chosen guests seemed to miss the irony of being required to hide their identity behind a mask. Do check it out - no mask or special invitation required. Making The List opens on Saturday 12 January and continues until 8 March.

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