Castle high hopes with Brave

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The terrestrial television premiere of Disney-Pixar’s Brave on BBC1 on Christmas Day could prove good news for Stonehaven.

The Oscar-winning animation, which stars Kelly Macdonald as fiery redhead princess Merida, Emma Thompson as Queen Elinor and Billy Connolly as King Fergus, will be screened UK-wide immediately after the Queen’s Speech in a slot that traditionally attracts millions of viewers.

During production of the 2012 movie, Disney-Pixar animators visited a number of locations throughout Scotland, with Dunnottar Castle proving one of the biggest inspirations.

Dunnottar, was the main inspiration for the princess’s spectacular clifftop home of Dunbroch.

Having previously stood in for Elsinore in Franco Zefferrelli’s 1990 adaptation of Hamlet, the castle can currently be seen in cinemas in Victor Frankenstein, which stars James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe.

With families up and down the UK expected to gather round the television to enjoy the Scotland-based adventure on Christmas Day, the management at Dunnottar revealed their hopes of a tourism boost in the New Year.

Jim Wands, Custodian at Dunnottar Castle, said: “Our visitor numbers are going up year-on-year. We had nearly 90,000 visitors in the 2014-2015 period and we are on target for 2016.

“It’s always great to see how filmmakers re-imagine our beautiful castle. The Christmas Day screening of Brave is a great way of introducing the film to new audiences and we hope it will inspire some of them to visit Dunnottar.

“They could even make it one of their New Year resolutions. After all, a walk to Dunnottar Castle is the perfect way to work off some of those festive calories.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “We are delighted to see that BBC1 is screening Brave in such a prime slot on Christmas Day. Inspired by our stunning landscapes and some of our most iconic locations, it really is the perfect family movie.

“Set-jetting is a hugely popular pastime and I’m sure that watching this fantastic adventure unfold from the comfort of their sofas on 25 December will inspire families to come and explore the real Scotland for themselves.”