The owner of a Renfrew pub has been given some much-needed cheer after it was chosen as a location for a new television drama.

Zander McGregor has found the past year tough as the Covid pandemic has forced him to close the Ferry Inn for much of that time.

But he was raising a glass to the makers of a new six-part murder mystery called Annika when they got in touch.

The drama stars Unforgotten actress Nicola Walker as Annika Strandhed, who heads up a fictional marine homicide unit investigating unexplained murders on Scotland’s waterways.

Producers chose the Ferry Inn as a location for filming as it is situated on the banks of the River Clyde.

Zander revealed he was busy renovating the pub, in Clyde Street, when the film company asked him to stop – as they wanted it to look derelict.

He told The Gazette: “It’s a water-based drama, so they were looking for a pub like ours that faced directly onto the Clyde.

They said the Ferry Inn was ideal for what they needed because they also wanted it to look abandoned.

“The side of the pub was already scraped down, including the sign, and ready to paint but they told us to stop and leave it the way it was.

“The production team put boards in the windows to make it look derelict. They also emptied a lot of the new stuff from inside and replaced it with older furniture.

“It might look as though we are boarding up and moving out but we’re not.”

Walker, who also starred in shows such as Spooks and Last Tango in Halifax, spent all of

Monday filming at the pub, with the crew there on Thursday and Friday to set things up.
Zander said the filming has provided a real financial lift.

He added: “Hopefully, the programme will also boost Renfrew when it is shown on television.”

He is a big fan of Walker and, in particular, the Unforgotten crime series, where she leads a team of detectives who investigate unsolved murders and disappearances.

However, he didn’t get a chance to meet Walker or ask for her autograph.

“We were told we had to stay away from the set for safety reasons,” he said.

“But I made myself available on the day in case there were any issues with access in and out of the pub.”

Zander and his business partner took over the Ferry Inn, which also provides bed and breakfast, two years ago.

He said: “We’d only been going for a year and had been trading well but then we were hit by lockdown.

“The filming has been very welcome at a difficult time and has got people talking about the pub again.”

Other locations for the six-part Annika series include Glasgow, Helensburgh and Greenock.

Annika’s supporting cast includes Jamie Sives (Guilt), Katie Leung (The Nest) and Kate Dickie (The Cry).

It is being made by Glasgow-based production company Black Camel Pictures, which was also behind Sunshine on Leith.

The show, which began filming in December, has been commissioned for the Alibi crime channel.

It is being directed by Downton Abbey’s Philip John and Waterloo Road’s Fiona Walton.