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Meri-da Christmas Everybody!

Press Release   •   Dec 21, 2015 10:05 GMT

The terrestrial television premiere of Disney-Pixar’s Brave on BBC1 on Christmas Day could prove the perfect start to the New Year for some of Scotland’s most iconic visitor attractions, according to VisitScotland.

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 the Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis and Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven, proving two of the biggest inspirations.

Every year, hundreds of Brave fans on Adventures by Disney’s official Scotland: A Brave Adventure tour descend on the Callanish Stones, which served as the template for the magical standing stones Merida encounters during the film.

Dunnottar, meanwhile, 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 of both popular attractions today revealed their hopes of a tourism boost in the New Year.

Angus Mackenzie, Manager of the Callanish Stones Visitor Centre, said: “There’s no doubt that the Callanish Stones were brought more into the public consciousness following the release of Brave. Even if just a fraction of the people who sit down to enjoy the film on Christmas Day decide to come and explore the Callanish Stones then that’s great news for us. We look forward to welcoming more visitors here when we re-open after the festive break on 5 January.”

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.”

In 2012, VisitScotland teamed up with Disney to promote Scotland on the back of Brave. The national tourism organisation’s extensive overseas and domestic marketing campaign is estimated to have boosted the Scottish economy by around £120 million.

Brave is one of more than 100 movies to feature in VisitScotland’s guide, Set in Scotland: A Film Fan’s Odyssey. To view the guide online, go to

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    Year of Food and Drink 2015

    • 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success.
    • Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism.
    • A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat
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