Take the High Road was a British soap opera produced by Scottish Television, set in the fictional village of Glendarroch, which started in February 1980 as an ITV daytime soap opera, and was dropped by most stations in the 1990s, although Scottish Television, Grampian Television, Border Television and Ulster Television continued to screen the programme until the last episode. The programme has developed a cult following.
ITV wished to have a Scottish soap for its daytime line up. At the time the only soap made by STV was Garnock Way, which ITV companies in the rest of the United Kingdom had no interest in, as they wished to have a soap, in their words, “with Scotch Lochs, Hills and purple heather”, a more tartan feel to the show. In late 1979, (partly because of an ITV strike at the time) Garnock Way was axed and production started on a new soap.
The original name for the fictitious estate and village was Glendhu; this resulted in some debate over the name of the series:
- The Glendhu Factor — was dropped as some viewers in other ITV markets may have found it difficult, resulting in the fictitious village’s being renamed Glendarroch
- High Road – Low Road — also dropped, as it sounded like a take-away shop
After much debate it was decided that the series would be called Take the High Road.
Take the High Road was introduced as a replacement for Garnock Way, which contained very similar characters and actors to the original characters of Take the High Road. Some viewers were rather displeased about Garnock Way being axed; to help defuse some of the anger, Todd the garage mechanic, played by Bill Henderson, would suffer a nervous breakdown, and would move north to set up business on his own to help resolve his alcohol problems.
Because of shortage of time and the wish to keep most of the existing actors, it did not follow this plan. The appointed producer Clarke Tait decided to have a scenario where Bill Henderson’s character, Todd, had his named changed to Ken Calder who happened to be a garage mechanic with a drink problem.