The Holyrood Files Uncovered
Extremely controversial and highly contentious doesn't even come close to describing the debate surrounding Holyrood, the new Scottish Parliament. Distilled from his four-part BBC television series T...
Extremely controversial and highly contentious doesn't even come close to describing the debate surrounding Holyrood, the new Scottish Parliament. Distilled from his four-part BBC television series The Gathering Place, Stuart Greig's documentary The Holyrood Files, is a contextualized version of events surrounding the building of Scotland's new parliament.October 9 2004: Holyrood officially opens. It was a day that many thought would never come: millions of pounds over budget, excessively late in completion, having overcome the deaths of both Donald Dewar, (the original champion of the project) and Enric Miralles, the principle architect, as well as surviving multiple audits and inquires, it is, in retrospect, a miracle that the building was actually completed.
After all the political mud-slinging involved the project, it is most impressive that for The Holyrood Files, Greig has managed to get all key players speaking candidly on camera.
“It’s like any documentary, you can film something but to get under the skin of it and win over trust, you have to offer something,” says Greig. “What I offered is my commitment to the project.”
Over the course of filming, Greig’s commitment almost landed him in jail. During the now-infamous Fraiser inquiry, Greig was ordered to hand over his hours of footage, which he refused to do.
“The rushes were all kept in a bank vault so that no other news [organization] could have access. I would have gone to jail before I gave them over,” says Greig. “The Scottish pres was screaming for [the tapes] because it was such a fantastic news story for them.”
The endless criticisms by sectors of the Scottish press and public have clearly worn on Greig and, it is clear at the end of the film, on all the players involved with the project.
“I’ve been vilified by the Scottish press,” Greig says. “It makes you very cynical after a while.”
Given the amount of negative feelings and damaged careers (and lives) involved, it would be hard to describe the documentary as a labour of love. But there is no doubt that throughout, Greig has remained steadfastly committed to giving the key players— who by and large were used as political scapegoats— a voice to tell their side of the story.
“I am, born and bred, a resident of Scotland and Edinburgh, Greig says. “I am a great believer in my country, but if my country is full of short-sighted individuals then I have a duty to show it for what it is... To examine these events is the only way to move forward. I hope that our parliament, and this film will raise some kind of national consciousness.”
Winners of EIFF 2014’s short film awards and two of its documentary premieres have been nominated for 2015 BAFTAs.