Darcey Bussell’s Wild Coasts of Scotland, series one, episode one, review


Darcey Bussell’s Wild Coasts of Scotland

More 4, Monday, All 4


SCOTLAND was not short of visitors last summer due to “it”, but how many of us realised there had been an invasion of travelling celebrities on top of the staycationing hordes?

It was all very well if you lucked out and had Darcey Bussell’s Wild Scottish Coast rock up at the local community centre, or Joanna Lumley’s Home Sweet Home: Travels in My Own Land (STV, 8pm, tonight) sashay down the high street.

But what of the poor souls who had Jeremy Clarkson and his Grand Tour? The only possible upside of that experience is that midges will never seem that bad again.

Dame Darcey, former ballerina, ex-Strictly Come Dancing judge, could scarcely have been happier to be island hopping on the west coast. She had heard all about Scotland from her grandfather, Tommy Williams, born in Glasgow in 1906, and it had been a lifetime ambition of the 51-year-old to visit.

She was so chuffed to be on her way she had a little dance on the deck of the ferry. Definitely do not try that at home, kids. While her ultimate destination was Bute, where grandpa Tommy spent his summers, it was to Skye she headed for the first of four episodes.

Susan Calman, Joanna Lumley, Darcey Bussell head north

She tried her hand at weaving (the family business was a weaving mill) with Maggie Williams of Westcoast Weavers. Williams, working from an old black and white picture of Tommy, had based a tartan on what he was wearing, picked out in the blues and yellows of Skye. Later, Bussell had her “Ring of Bright Water moment” watching an otter catch a fish supper (not of the Glesga variety).

After that it was helping to clear plastics from a beach, trying step dancing, and eating freshly harvested scallops at the lochside, having been shown how to collect the meat. “I shucked the scallop out of the shell,” said Dame Darcey in a “rain in Spain” kind of way.

Made by True North, an independent production company based in the north of England, there was nothing here you had not seen many times before with various other celebrity travellers. Still, it was shot beautifully and Bussell’s enthusiasm was engaging.

‘It was the most amazing detox’

Care had been taken to stay away from the obvious tourist spots, such as the fairy pools, in favour of meeting locals and heading off the beaten track.

There was history too, as she touched on the clearances, again in the company of a local. Without even looking at the channel ident it was clear this was a travel show for the discerning More 4 viewer. The kind of show, indeed, that Dame Darcey might watch herself. Next week: the Outer Hebrides.


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