THIS IS SCOTLAND: Scotland On Screen with Alan Cummings

by Lisa McGarry


Scotland and its spectacular scenery has played a starring role in Hollywood movies from Brigadoon to Braveheart, with some notable home-grown productions along the way, from Local Hero to Trainspotting.

This hour-long documentary brings Scottish movie star Alan Cumming home to take a tour of some of the locations of classic Scottish films, as part of BBC Four’s This Is Scotland season.

Says Alan: “When 5,000 miles away it can be easy to think it’s only a place of magic and myth.

“Seen from closer to home, things can look a little different. I want to take a closer look at how Scotland’s been perceived, from Hollywood’s long-lens view to the reflections of home-grown film-makers.”

Alan, who grew up in Angus, first takes the road to the Highlands and a landscape which has provided a thrilling and dramatic backdrop for cinematic magic ranging from Richard Hannay making his escape down the slopes of Glencoe, to Harry Potter hurtling over the Glenfinnan viaduct en route to Hogwarts.

He talks to the members of Clan Wallace, who appeared as extras in Braveheart, and the grown-up girl who played William Wallace’s childhood sweetheart.

Scotland’s islands’ place in its movie-lore is celebrated on Mull with the classic Powell & Pressburger movie, I Know Where I’m Going!, from 1945.

Alan also celebrates some of the weird and wonderful movies inspired by Scotland, such The Wicker Man, which was famously filmed in Dumfries & Galloway. Along the way, he also reviews some latter-day representations of Scotland, with director Bill Forsyth in Cumbernauld, the setting of Gregory’s Girl.

Edinburgh’s particular contribution to Scottish cinema is exemplified by such contrasting films as The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie – as Alan takes tea with the Morningside Parish Ladies Group – and Trainspotting.

Thursday 17 September
9.00-10.00pm BBC FOUR