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Tsar’s Moffat visit makes TV history

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By Fiona Reid
Tsar’s Moffat visit makes TV history

MOFFAT made headlines in Russia last week when footage of the town was broadcast by a Russian TV station.

SPECIAL VISIT . . . local actress Myrtle Little presenting a bouquet to the Consul General of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh, Andrey Pritsepov, at the Annandale Arms Hotel. Photo courtesy of Jonathon Cosens Photography

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia’s visit to the town, the Consul General of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh, Andrey Pritsepov, visited the Annandale Arms Hotel.

In 1816, aged 20, Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia stayed at the hotel, then called The King’s Arms.

He later went on to become Tsar Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia from 1825 to 1855.

Mr Pritsepov was there to witness the inauguration of of a plaque and information board commemorating the memorable stay.

And to make the occasion one to remember, the Upper Annandale Society from the Old Well Theatre were asked to help set the scene at the Annandale Arms.

The group’s Norma Fears said: “We were asked to supply three historical characters – Nicholas, 20 years old at the time; Doctor John Rogerson, a Dumfriesshire man now retired at Dumcrieff just outside Moffat, formerly physician to Catherine the Great, and well known to Nicholas; and Jane Lyon from Perthshire who was the Duke’s nanny for the first seven years of his life.”

Locals Myrtle Little and Nathan and Peter BeckSamuels took on the pivotal roles.

Mrs Fears added: “They expected only to have their photo taken and Myrtle was going to present Mr Pritsepov with a bouquet of flowers, but they ended up having a much more adventurous afternoon and being featured on Russian television.”

The Moffat visit was documented by Russian TV network NTV in a special report lasting nearly three minutes.

It featured close ups of sunny Moffat scenery and local fixtures such as the ram and the town clock before footage of the unveiling of the plaque was shown.

A mock tour of the hotel, performed by actors in character, was also featured as well as shots of them pretending to dine in the restaurant and appreciating the views from the hotel.

More celebrations and events are being planned later this year to further mark the Grand Duke’s historic stay.

The Old Well Theatre are staging and premiering a light-hearted and musical play specially written by Peter Roberts about the the young Duke’s visit to Scotland – Grand Duke Nick’s Big Night Out.

As well as performing the play in late September for local people, the theatre will be putting on a special performance for a group of Russian visitors on Friday October 21.

The visitors are attending the annual Russian Moffat Conference to be held in Moffat in October.

Watch the video here:


26th Feb

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter | DNG24