Highlands & Islands

Is the Loch Ness Monster naughty or nice?

Loch Ness Monster episode in Grimm Image copyright NBC
Image caption Another glimpse of the fearsome Loch Ness Monster in the show

The Loch Ness Monster has been cast as a villain in a US crime drama. But should fans of Nessie, who is usually portrayed as a shy and harmless creature, be surprised at her being re-imagined as a bad guy?

She is one of Scotland's most famous and best-loved tales.

But for the latest episode of American TV series Grimm, showing in the UK later on Tuesday, a new version of the Loch Ness Monster has been created.

The creature appears as a scaly, snarling, pointy-toothed threat to the show's hero, a Portland police detective who battles supernatural criminals.

Image copyright NBC
Image caption Nessie gets a monstrous makeover for American TV show Grimm
Image copyright NBC
Image caption NBC has already screened the Loch Ness Monster-themed episode in the US

But nasty Nessies have popped up in popular culture before, including 1975's four-part Doctor Who - Terror of the Zygons.

Beyond Loch Ness, a Canadian made-for-TV horror, a cryptozoologist hunts for a man-eating Nessie years after it killed his father during an ill-fated trip on Loch Ness.

And in 2006, a Toyota TV advert saw the monster suddenly emerge from the loch to grab a pick-up truck parked on the shoreline, take it below the surface before spitting the vehicle back out.

However, more favourable, friendlier representations of the monster seem to be the norm.

Image copyright Disney
Image caption Disney's animated short film The Ballad of Nessie

In the 1980s, there was the cartoon The Family-Ness featuring colourful cast of cheerful monsters.

Nessie has also appeared in The Simpsons. In the episode called Monty Can't Buy Me Love, Loch Ness is drained of its water and Homer Simpson finds a dummy Nessie with the graffiti "Stomp Aberdeen".

A "real" Nessie appears and later ends up working in a Las Vegas casino.

The monster also appeared in friendly forms on film including 1996's Loch Ness starring Ted Danson and The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep in 2007.

Image copyright Mattel
Image caption Mattel's cheery Lorna McNessie, the daughter of the Loch Ness Monster

Five years ago, an animated short about the Loch Ness Monster was shown before screenings of Disney film, Winnie the Pooh.

The Ballad of Nessie was set in the "bonny blue Highlands" and saw the monster's home targeted by a "greedy land developer" called MacFroogle.

Its story was narrated by comedian and actor Billy Connolly.

'Scared of us'

Nessie has even inspired a character for Mattel's Monster High, a range of dolls that also includes zombies, ghosts and werewolves.

Lorna McNessie, who was released as a toy last year, is described as the daughter of the Loch Ness Monster and is from Rotland - Monster High's version of Scotland.

For Gary Campbell, keeper of the Official Registrar of Sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, history has portrayed Nessie as a "pretty benign creature" - barring one incident several hundred years ago when an Irish missionary battled a beast near the loch.

"Ever since St Columba chastised her in 565AD, she's never attacked anyone even though she's been spotted over 1,000 times," said Mr Campbell.

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