Objective Media Group Scotland and Mark Bonnar head to the hippos for BBC Scotland

19 August 2021

Objective Media Group Scotland and Mark Bonnar head to the hippos for BBC Scotland

Objective Media Group Scotland has been commissioned to make a one-off documentary for BBC Scotland about the legacy of Scotland’s new town art.

Presented by award-winning actor, and former Glenrothes and East Kilbride resident Mark Bonnar, the 1 x 60’ programme, Meet You at the Hippos, sees Mark on a mission to understand the social history of the new towns in which he grew up, via their public art.

For Mark, this slice of Scottish social and cultural history is intensely personal. His father Stan Bonnar was one of the country’s pioneering new town artists. Given the unprecedented responsibility granted to these young sculptors to help make the new towns feel like home, Stan’s longstanding legacy as an artist comes from the Glenrothes Hippos, giant concrete animals which were very warmly welcomed by residents and have been adopted as the town’s symbol.

Mark visits Cumbernauld, Irvine, East Kilbride, Livingston and Glenrothes, exploring the art and public sculpture that defined the Scottish new towns and the artists who made the work, including David Harding, Denis Barns, Mary Bourne, Malcolm Robertson, Brian Miller as he meets some of the artists as well as those who have been inspired by the art itself.

Following the poignant stories of connection, community, art and family, Meet You at the Hippos goes beyond art and social history to uncover the surprising way public art changed the new towns and the new towns changed public art.

Mark Bonnar said, “Thanks to my dad, art - particularly town art - has been in my life since I was a wee boy. Glenrothes residents across the generations know his concrete hippos well, while in East Kilbride, his concrete elephants are also a landmark. I’ve been on a safari through Scotland’s five new towns to find out how the art came into the world and became an integral part of these post-war towns.”

David Harron, Commissioning Executive, Factual at BBC Scotland said: ‘The story of Scotland’s new town public art is a fascinating one and we are delighted to have commissioned this film with Mark. His personal connection to the subject via his dad will bring the audience a unique perspective.’

Meet You at the Hippos is an Objective Media Group Scotland production, part of Objective Media Group, and is due to air in 2022. It was commissioned by David Harron, Commissioning Executive for BBC Scotland, is directed by the Grierson award-winning Jack Cocker, with Jan Patience assistant producing, and the Executive Producer is Toby Stevens.

About Objective Media Group Scotland

Part of Objective Media Group and based in Glasgow, OMG Scotland is headed by Toby Stevens and creates and develops original programmes as well as co-producing content developed by the wider OMG labels. Previous productions include The Falkirk Cowboys for BBC Scotland; the BAFTA and RTS award-winning It Was Alright in the… for Channel 4; BAFTA award-winning Last Commanders for CBBC; Objective Fiction’s Year of the Rabbit, Feel Good
and Eric, Ernie & Me, and the recent Triple Brew Media series for Channel 4 The Answer Trap.