See Annie Lennox this evening on BBC Scotland. Changing Landscapes: The Story of Scotland is on TV at 10.35PM


See Annie Lennox this evening on BBC Scotland. Changing Landscapes: The Story of Scotland is on TV at 10.35PM

On BBC Scotland this evening, Annie Lennox narrates alongside Iain Glen and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Scotland has always been intensely proud of its landscape. But at the same time, Scotland has always done its natural world grave harm. As the COP26 conference on climate change approaches in Glasgow, BBC Scotland’s Changing Landscapes meditates upon the care and carelessness we’ve brought to bear on the environment.

In this 60 minute film, Scotland’s film and video archives from the last hundred years illustrate the story of this contradiction. The words of poets, ecologists, journalists and travellers – read for us by some of Scotland’s most famous voices – are combined with the voices of ordinary folk from our archival store; people whose relationship with land and nature is as varied as folk always are.

It will be their workplace, the place where they take their leisure, the place where they go to shoot the carefully curated stocks of deer and grouse. We see how very deep we’ve mined and drilled in search of coal and oil – and how far we’ve hiked and biked in search of solitude and beauty. We learn that the damage done has always been at the back of our minds, at the very least since the 1930s.

Driving the film is BBC Scotland’s Scottish Symphony Orchestra performing a carefully-selected soundtrack of work by Scottish composers old and new, featuring pieces by one of Scotland’s oldest living composers, Thea Musgrave, and one of its youngest, Jay Capperauld. We hear from some of the finest of Scotland’s folk musicians, Julie Fowlis and Kris Drever, who remind us that Scotland’s relationship with nature has been in many ways like a bad romance.

Our narrators will read passages from a wide range of sources. We hear words from Scotland’s newly-appointed makar, Kathleen Jamie, and passages from poets such as Edwin Muir, Liz Lochhead, Edwin Morgan, Magi Gibson, Don Paterson and Robert Burns – evocations of Scotland’s landscapes, both rural and urban. We also hear from travel writers and journalists, old biographies of Osgood Mackenzie and excerpts of the ecologist Fraser Darling’s 1930s report on the Scottish Highlands: ‘they are a wet desert’.

Readings from newspapers, accounts of mining, environmental protests, good summers, hard winters, trespassing ramblers seeking the right to roam. And growing towns. Changing Landscapes, sometimes abstract in places, evokes a Scotland – and a planet – which may be on the brink of environmental collapse.

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