• Film

The Adventures Of Greyfriars Bobby


Time Out says

Are we perhaps heading for a spate of live-action animal flicks? Following hot on the heels of ‘Lassie’ comes this similarly-styled British tale of canine loyalty about a fluffy mutt that allegedly stayed beside his Scottish master’s graveside for 14 years. Call me pernickety, but according to the history books – and a statue in the grounds of Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh – the original eponymous mutt was a Skye terrier, a scruffy, dark-haired pooch with a cute, mischievous face. In this film, though, he’s represented as a frankly character-less white West Highland terrier – ‘for practical considerations’. But enough canine discrimination already.

It’s 1858, and Bobby and his master, PC John Gray (Thomas Lockyer), live and work in Edinburgh’s deprived Old Town, keeping crime at bay and performing a sterling service at calming runaway bulls on market day. Soon after the opening credits, Gray succumbs to TB and is buried in the grounds of Greyfriars Church, whereupon the dog begins his interminable ritual. Of course, the locals are besotted with the little fella and none more so than good-natured Tam-O'-Shanter-clad youngster Ewan (Oliver Golding), who comes to the pooch’s rescue when the local charity commissioner orders in the dog catchers.

In order to keep the kids focused,director John Henderson pads out this amiable little film with a cross-country adventure, a collapsing house, a scary cellar and an ‘Oliver’-style workhouse. It’s hardly riveting stuff, but it’s authentically mounted and imaginatively cast. Just a shame it’s not very emotionally satisfying. Still, the Scottish Tourist Board will doubtless be clicking its heels at the prospect of a whole new tranche of visitors.

Release Details

  • Rated:PG
  • Release date:Friday 10 February 2006

Cast and crew

  • Director:John Henderson
  • Screenwriter:John Henderson, Richard Matthews, Neville Watchurst
  • Cast:
    • James Cosmo
    • Oliver Golding
    • Christopher Lee
    • Gina McKee
    • Greg Wise
    • Sean Pertwee
    • Ardal O'Hanlon
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