Lost in Scotland, Miriam and Alan (Channel 4), review: Two actors, one campervan, and a deeply personal journey

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Lost in Scotland, Miriam and Alan, Channel 4, review: Two actors, one campervan, and a deeply personal journey

The two set out on a journey around a country that has shaped their family’s history.

It was pleasant viewing, but Scotland got a little lost in the process.

The pandemic’s long-term consequences may take years to manifest.

However, it is clear that the 18 months of rolling lockdowns have had a significant impact on celebrity travelogues.

Rather than sending familiar faces to far-flung corners of the globe, the trend now is to send them on a staycation and see what happens. That’s how Miriam Margolyes and Alan Cumming end up in a campervan rambling around Scotland in Miriam and Alan: Lost in Scotland.

These two veteran actors were embarking on a deeply personal journey to a place that has had such an impact on their lives.

Cumming’s memories of his childhood on the Panmure estate in Carnoustie, just outside Dundee, were tainted by pain: his father was violent toward him and his brother.

A visit to the house where he grew up posed the risk of triggering an emotional Pandora’s box.

Cumming told Margolyes, “I’m allowed to go inside today, but it’s too much.” He recalled his father cutting his hair with garden shears once.

Cumming’s voice was flat, and he seemed to be leaning to one side.

Margolyes, who was 80 years old at the time, stepped forward and dabbed away tears.

When she brought Cumming to the Glasgow neighborhood where her grandfather had settled after fleeing persecution in Belarus, and where her father had spent his childhood, she had already had her own emotional experience.

Later, the two met actor Bill Paterson (Fleabag’s father) for a stroll through Fordyce, where he and Margolyes had shot a drama about a “lost tribe” of Scottish Jews 40 years earlier.

However, because the first episode focused so heavily on their personal connection to Scotland, it lacked stunning vistas, the Glasgow skyline, and any real sense of place.

This was pleasant comfort viewing, but the Scotland portion of the equation became slightly lost in Lost in Scotland.

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Lost in Scotland, Miriam and Alan, Channel 4, review: Two actors, one campervan, and a deeply personal journey

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Miriam and Alan: Lost in Scotland, Channel 4, review: Two actors, one campervan, and a deeply personal trip

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