A little bit of Hollywood comes to Cootehill where the Cootehill Men's Shed has been turned into a English Police Station for a joint BBC, Virgin Media and WDR German Production for Netflix titled "Video Nasty" a six episode thirty minute series which is being filmed over a period of seven weeks at locations in Cavan, Monaghan and Fermanagh.

Region sets scene for new drama

Filming for a new six part comedy-drama series is taking place mainly in Monaghan but also more recently in Cootehill.

Written and created by Hugh Travers (Your Mother Should Know, Red Rock), and directed by Christopher Smith (Spy/ Master, Triangle) and Megan K. Fox (Too Good to be True), ‘Video Nasty’ is a riveting rollercoaster ride through the quirkiness of 1985, when the VHS era was at its zenith.

It is being filmed by Deadpan Pictures for BBC Northern Ireland, BBC Three and iPlayer, Virgin Media Television, and WDR (Germany), and weaves elements of ‘80s nostalgia and dark humor with gripping suspense.

In the heart of the narrative of the six 30 minute episodes lies a trio of intrepid teenagers embarking on a seemingly innocent quest: to amass a coveted collection of cult VHS tapes. However, their pursuit takes an unexpected turn when they find themselves entangled in a murder investigation, thrust into the spotlight as prime suspects and societal pariahs.

Ailish McElmeel (Northern Lights, Can’t Cope Won’t Cope) from Tydavnet, runs Deadpan Pictures with Paul Donovan, and is series producer on ‘Video Nasty’. She is producing alongside Julie Baines (Something in the Water, Triangle), and told the Celt that she was “delighted” to bring the project back to home turf.

Approaching their 10 year anniversary in August, Dublin-based Deadpan have a wealth of experience in producing scripted comedic drama, having worked on other well-received projects for TV such as Can’t Cope Won’t Cope, Northern Lights, Dead Still, The South Westerlies, and Women on the Verge.

Having left Monaghan in 1998 to study film and TV in Dublin, it’s a rare foray for Ailish to bring work northwards, but it’s an endeavour she hopes to repeat.

“This is the first one we’ve produced that’s gone back to Monaghan through Deadpan,” she explains. “It’s definitely a nice thing to be able to do, especially seeing as the show we’re doing is set in Dublin in the 1980’s and then the characters travel across to the UK as part of the story. So Glaslough and Caledon, just over the border in Tyrone, I thought immediately we could film in those two towns, they have the aesthetic we’re after, and we broadened it out from there.”

The ‘Video Nasty’ project has been in development for the best part of four years, when writer Hugh Travers first began discussions with Ailish and Deadpan.

“It was during Covid. With the writer, we’ve worked on a few things together before, and he brought me a few pages of a pitch. We finally did a deal, and got down to actually writing it by April 2020.”

Entertainment company, Boat Rocker will distribute ‘Video Nasty’ to a wider global audience, and Ailish is optimistic it will be well-received, particularly with the interest drummed up within the locality.

Aside from filming for four days in Cootehill, including at the former Garda Barracks, Deadpan’s production also took in St. Peter’s Tin Church in Laragh in Monaghan as a location site, with a visit too from Minister for the Arts, Catherine Martin.

“That was very nice because she’s from very close to there, it’s in her parish, so it’s good of her to make the trip home and see some filming taking place here,” says Ailish. “Before that we shot at the police station in Cootehill, at the Men’s Shed and it was really, really good to have complete control there. All the crew said the people on the ground were really helpful. Perhaps too helpful maybe sometimes when they can’t get the off the phone.”

“It was really nice to bring filming back to Monaghan and Cavan,” concludes Ailish, who expects ‘Video Nasty’ to be available to audiences on the BBC and Virgin Media from early next year.

“It’s definitely something we’d like to repeat again. There is a lot of potential there.”