CHOCOLATE, salmon and racehorses are all part of a new TV series that it is hoped will boost tourism in an often overlooked part of Scotland.

Made by the same producers as The Harbour and The Mountain, The River – which begins this evening – tells the stories of the people who live along the banks of the Tweed in the Borders.

It signals a renewed interest in the area, recently opened up by the new Borders railway. Part of BBC drama series One of Us was filmed in Peebles, a new drama is being filmed in a private house at the coast, and Jeremy Paxman’s forthcoming programmes on rivers in the UK includes the Tweed.

Like The Mountain and The Harbour, The River gives insights into those who make their living in villages and towns beside the Tweed and includes not only traditional activities like fishing and horse racing but also more modern pursuits such as mountain biking. Among those featured is chocolatier Ruth Hinks, who set up her business in Peebles.

It has been welcomed as a boost for the region by Scotland’s tourism agency, VisitScotland, and Scottish Borders Council.

“The series will help shine a spotlight on the region and let people across the country see what a fantastic place the Borders is to come and visit,” said Doug Wilson, VisitScotland regional director.

“We are delighted to see Scottish tourism businesses capitalising on this outstanding opportunity and hope that the film will encourage more visitors coming to the region to meet the wonderful people and see the spectacular sights depicted.”

The new six-part documentary is a “unique opportunity” to promote the Borders to a nationwide audience, according to Councillor Stuart Bell, executive member for economic development at Scottish Borders Council. “The River really will put the Scottish Borders centre stage,” he said.

“The River Tweed is known across the world for its salmon fishing and it plays a key role in our local economy on that basis. However, this new series will tell the much wider story about the role the Tweed has in so many people’s lives in the Scottish Borders.”

Narrated by Cora Bissett, the documentary covers many of the local customs and traditions of the Borders, from the Melrose Sevens to the Common Ridings and the Kelso Races.

The River starts tonight on BBC Scotland at 7.30pm