After receiving wide-spread acclaim for his work on the hit-series Poldark, William McGregor, one of our Digital Film and Screen Arts graduates is set to release his first four-part thriller on BBC1.
The director, who graduated from our Farnham campus in 2010, returns to action with the hard-hitting miniseries One of Us, which is centred on a horrific double murder that rocks the lives of two families living side-by-side in rural Scotland.
William, 28, says: “One of Us is written by Jack and Harry Williams, the writers of Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA-nominated hit The Missing. The scripts were so striking and grabbed me from the first read. The story is incredibly thought-provoking and set in an epic landscape with authentic and troubled characters.”
The co-production between BBC Scotland and Two Brothers Pictures stars Juliet Stevenson, Ade Edmondson and Gary Lewis.
“I guess the appeal for the audience is similar to the appeal for me as the director,” William adds. “It’s a genuine moral dilemma that you can’t help but mull over. I think it’s great to be able to escape into the sublime Scottish landscape with these characters and enter a dark and murky world of suspense and suspicion. It’s the kind of show that I’d want to cosy up and watch in the evening, so hopefully people get into it and are talking about it around the coffee machine the next day.”
Originally from Norfolk, William was brought in to work on One of Us following his success directing episodes five to eight of the Sunday night prime-time period drama Poldark, as well as his work on E4’s BAFTA-winning show Misfits and Pepsi’s inventive Super Bowl advert.
Filming for the series took place in Scotland. Williams says: “The location is just breathtaking. Then Scottish countryside is so important to the plot and characters that I can’t imagine telling this story anywhere else. The biggest challenge was making sure that every moment of the show felt authentic and legitimate. The stakes are so high that if you lose that feeling of believability for one moment then the tension will drop.
“The cast and I worked really hard to make sure we did the writing justice. We spent a week in rehearsals, building back story and sharing memories between the characters. There was so much detail that was useful to us and informed what we did that isn’t actually in the show.”
While studying here, William's student film Who's Afraid of the Water Sprite? won the Royal Television Society award for Best Undergraduate Drama.
With One of Us due to air next week, William is now turning his attention to his first feature film The Dark Outside, which is currently in pre-production with Emmy award-winning producer Hilary Bevan Jones and The BFI. The film is a macabre fairytale set in Snowdonia during the industrial revolution and is due to be shot in Wales at the beginning of next year.
One of Us premieres on BBC1 on Tuesday 23 August at 9pm. View the trailer here.