Then Came Argyll: Set-jetting-inspired film could create its own set-jetters

Life could imitate art with the release of Then Came You – a film written and starring US TV presenter and singer Kathie Lee Gifford about a widow who travels to Scotland, inspired by the movies shot here.

Co-starring Scots actors, Craig Ferguson and Ford Kiernan, and Liz Hurley, the film was shot on location in Argyll in 2018, with stunning views across Loch Fyne and the surrounding landscape providing the backdrop to the romantic comedy, which was funded by the National Lottery through Screen Scotland’s Production Growth Fund.

The cast and crew stayed on location during the 6-week shoot at Drimsynie Holiday Park, with Kathie Lee staying at The Lodge on Loch Goil, which she was so taken with that she rewrote the ending to the film to include it during production.

Then Came You tells the story of a lonely widow (Gifford) who plans a trip around the world with her husband's ashes, to visit the places they loved in the movies. However, on her first stop, in Scotland, at an Inn (Ardkinglas House, Cairndow) where she meets the owner (Ferguson), her plans suddenly change.

Set-jetting in which visitors travel to film locations after seeing them on the big or small screen has become a popular trend in Scotland, with around one in five travellers saying it was a motivating factor.

While the pandemic has restricted international travel, the effects of film tourism are not always immediately felt, with many people travelling to places associated with their favourite feature or programme long after their release. Visitor surveys show travellers continue to cite past productions, Highlander, Braveheart and Skyfall, among others.

Available to stream online now on Video-on-Demand (VOD) platforms, Then Came You comes in the wake of popular US productions filmed in Scotland such as Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga and Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.

Argyll, itself, is not unfamiliar to big screen appearances over the years including the likes of Ring of Bright Water, Restless Natives, The Water Horse, Under the Skin and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Among the locations to feature in the film are:

  • Ardkinglas House & Estate, Cairndow
  • Rest & Be Thankful
  • Kilmorich Church, Cairndow
  • Arrochar & Tarbet Train Station
  • George Hotel, Inveraray
  • Treehouse, The Lodge on Loch Goil
  • Lochgilphead

Jenni Steele, Film and Creative Industries Manager at VisitScotland, said: “It’s amazing that Scotland is not only inspiring filmmakers to bring their productions here but also producing stories that are embedded in our landscape and culture. Argyll looks fantastic on screen and this is another welcome opportunity to engage with an international audience and keep Scotland front of mind for potential visitors to travel when they can do so.”

Mark Thomas from Screen Scotland said: “It was fantastic to be able to welcome Kathie and the team to Scotland to work with two Scottish comedy legends in Ford Kiernan and Craig Ferguson. We are so pleased that audiences around the world will now be able to enjoy the world-class locations used in the film and celebrate Scotland’s breathtaking landscape.”

Iain Hopkins, Proprietor & Head Chef at The Lodge on Loch Goil, said: “We were overjoyed that Kathie Lee chose to stay with us at the Lodge and she would regularly invite members of the cast and crew to dine with her in the Treehouse. Kathie Lee loved her time with us so much so that during her stay she rewrote the original ending of the movie to include the treehouse and also wrote the theme tune here, which was amazing.

“We pride ourselves in giving our guests a real Scottish warm welcome and on the last day of filming, which happened to be the 4th July, we organised a complimentary American Independence Day party as a gesture of goodwill for our new friends.

“Since Then Came You has been released our website has been inundated with views from the USA which shows the power a film can have on an area like Argyll.”

Jean Maskell, Estate Manager, Ardkinglas Estate, Cairndow said: “We enjoyed having Kathie Lee Gifford and the rest of the cast and crew here and being able to showcase this part of Argyll.”

Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Economic Growth, Councillor Alastair Redman, said: “We are fully committed to promoting Argyll and Bute as a highly desirable location for film and TV crews. With so much diverse, natural beauty all around us, it is no wonder that more and more companies are choosing to come here. During these uncertain times it is vital we all work together to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and will work closely with film companies to ensure Scottish Government guidelines are followed keeping film crew and communities safe.”

Film in Argyll provides regularly updated information to anyone considering Argyll and Bute as a set location.