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Programme Archive Tasglann Phrògraman

The Real Jekyll & Hyde? The Deacon Brodie Story

BBC ALBA – Thursday 29 January at 9.00pm

Sgeulachd Deacon Brodie

BBC ALBA - Diardaon 29 Faoilleach aig 9.00f

THE DOUBLE LIFE OF DEACON BRODIE EXAMINED IN NEW BBC ALBA PROGRAMME

Deacor Brodie reaching for key

For the millions of tourists who visit Edinburgh each year, the Royal Mile is a major attraction. Many will stop for a refreshment at Deacon Brodie’s Tavern. But how many know the real, outrageous story of the Deacon’s life and crimes? In a new docu-drama, BBC ALBA offers an insight to one of the most notorious Scottish criminals of all time.

A respected member of Edinburgh society, William Brodie (1741-1788) was a top ranking town councilor as well as the 'deacon' (effectively the boss) of the Incorporation of Wrights & Masons. But unbeknownst to the aristocracy he mixed with, Brodie led a double life.

By day, he was a mason and a locksmith. By night, he was a shady burglar who reaped rich rewards from acquaintances and clients. These extra-curricular activities shored up a louche lifestyle that involved two glamorous mistresses who did not know of each other, five children – and a serious gambling addiction. In interview and dramatic reconstruction, the full story of William Brodie’s life and crimes is presented by John Morrison.

His career in crime got off to a flying start in 1768 when he robbed a bank of £800, an astonishing sum at the time. By the time he recruited three lower class thieves, his heists had begun in earnest.

It was a perfect deal for the Deacon. Working on the locks of his customers' houses, he would simply copy the keys. This permitted Brodie and his accomplices to return and loot at their leisure. For almost twenty years Brodie led this night-time thieving undetected. By day, he remained a loveable dandy, known for his wit and flamboyant dress sense.

His downfall began when he organised a complicated armed raid on Scotland’s Excise Office. It was a disaster, and Brodie fled for the continent intending to jump ship to America. But he got no further than Amsterdam where he was arrested and brought back to the capital.

Brodie was hanged on 1st October 1788, on a gallows rumoured to have been designed by himself. It was said that he wore a steel collar and managed to escape with his life. Suggestions that he was seen in Paris some weeks later, fed this colourful myth.

The famous pub on the Royal Mile is not the only Deacon Brodie Tavern; there are others in New York, and Dublin. His intriguing tale remains as redolent of Old Edinburgh as ever it was, and provides perfect winter viewing.

Produced for BBC ALBA by STV Productions, The Real Jekyll & Hyde? Sgeulachd Deacon Brodie will be broadcast on Thursday 29 January at 9.00pm.

Deacor Brodie reaching for key

Tha a’ Mhìle Rìoghail ann an Dùn Èideann na tarraing mhòr do na milleanan de luchd-turais a bhios a’ tadhal sa phrìomh bhaile gach bliadhna. Bidh tòrr a’ stad airson deoch anns an taigh-sheinnse ainmeil Deacon Brodie’s Tavern. Ach saoil cia mheud dhiubh aig a bheil fios gun deach an Deacon fhèin a chrochadh, airson iomadh eucoir? Anns a’ phrògram seo, cluinnear an sgeulachd iongantach aig’ air fad.

Thàinig William Brodie (1741-1788) bho theaghlach cliùiteach, math- dheth. Dh’fhàg athair fortan aige agus e fhathast òg. Bha e fhèin soirbheachail na cheàrd mar wright burgess sa bhaile. Bhiodh e cuideachd a’ dealbhachadh àirneis agus ag obair na ghreusaiche. Bha fèill air, thall ’s a bhos. Ach cha robh sin gu leòr dha. Bha an duine seo trom air cluiche chairtean is air òl; bha dithis bhoireannach na bheatha agus còignear chloinne. ’S ann a thòisich e a’ dèanamh mic-samhail de iuchraichean bho thaighean nan uaislean – agus an uair sin a’ falbh air an oidhche, a’ goid bhuapa. Bhiodh e teicheadh tric le airgead, seudan is stuthan prìseil eile à dachaighean is bùthan luchd-eòlais, gun chogais. Agus air sgàth a chuid chliù is inbhe, cha robh duine amharasach mu dheidhinn. Fad fichead bliadhna, b’ e seo cleas an Deacon Brodie; duine mòr onarach, comasach tron là ach air an oidhche, creutair gu tur diofraichte. Thèid beachdachadh an seo air ciamar idir a fhuair e às leis.

Ro dheireadh 1786, bha amasan gu math na bu mhotha fainear do Bhrodie, agus thàinig triùir eucoireach a-steach dhan ghnothaich. Bha am pac-meàrla trang, agus mu dheireadh chaidh iad an sàs sa phròiseact bu ladarna fhathast – aig Taigh nan Cìsean, aig bonn na Mìle Rìoghail. Bha iad an dùil falbh le na mìltean, ach chaidh cùisean bun-os-cionn agus theich iad gun ach sia nota deug eatorra. Ach fhathast cha robh sgeulachd an Deucoin seachad – ’s ann a theich esan dhan Roinn-Eòrpa.

Saoil an robh ainm agus inbhe Brodie a’ ciallachadh gu robh daoine a’ tionndadh an cinn bhon eucoir aige? Agus dè thachair dha, aon uair ’s gun do ràinig e Amsterdam, le ùghdarrasan an Rìgh às a dhèidh? An seo, gheibh sinn a-mach.

Mu dheireadh thall, chaidh Deacon Brodie a thoirt chun a’ chroich air beulaibh nam mìltean ann an Dùn Èideann. Ach cha b’ fhada gus an do thòisich na fathannan, nach do bhàsaich e idir …

Tha iomadh car is annas anns an sgeulachd shònraichte seo. Le cho tric ’s a chìthear ainm air a’ Mhìle Rìoghail ann an dòigh bhiodh e fìor a ràdh nach do dh’fhàg e Dùn Èideann a-riamh. Canaidh cuid gur ann airesan a chaidh an caractar ainmeil aig Robert Louis Stevenson - Jekyll agus Hyde – a stèidheachadh. Ach cò è? Thairis air uair a thìde de chòmhradh agus ìomhaighean dhràma, gheibh sinn co-dhiù dèagh bheachd. Tha Iain Moireasdan ag aithris.


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