Damian Barr presents new BBC doc to mark 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott
Updated: May 4
Factory, the award-winning indie that specialises in arts, music and cultural content, has won a BBC Scotland commission to produce a documentary to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scottish literary legend, Sir Walter Scott.
The Truth about Sir Walter Scott will be presented by Damian Barr, writer and host of the acclaimed series The Big Scottish Book Club and Shelf Isolation This is not the first time the writer and bibliophile, Barr has worked with the Factory team. In 2016 Damian presented The Writers of Rye, one of the programmes in the Books that made Britain series on BBC2.
This film is part travelogue and part personal journey, and will take writer and presenter, Barr from the bookshops of Edinburgh to the poet and novelist’s Scottish baronial home, Abbotsford, from the National Library of Scotland, to the shores of Loch Katrine. Scott has the second biggest monument to any author in the world and visitors to Edinburgh may arrive at Waverley train station—named for his bestselling and ground-breaking series of novels. Throughout the programme, Damian will examine the life and work of the man whose face is on Scottish banknotes yet who is nowadays very little read outside of literature courses at university. Who was Scott? What is his relevance now? And is he worth reading today?
‘Scott looms large over Edinburgh and Scottish literature. A polymath and pioneer he was celebrated, envied and parodied in his day. He made a fortune from writing, lost it all and made it back before dying. He was friends with Byron, envied by Jane Austen and his writing inspired some of the greatest works of art and music from Schubert’s Ave Maria to Lucia di Lammermoor. I want to find out more about the man and the writer and ask is he worth remembering and reading 250 years after his birth?’ Damian Barr.
“I’m very excited to be working with Damian again. He’s even more of a book nerd than I am, and it’s so exciting to be out filming again after nearly a year at home - especially in Scotland - which is going to look beautiful, as long as the sun shines. ”
Lisa Fairbank, Director
The film will be broadcast later in the Summer to coincide with other events to mark the Scott 250 anniversary. For more information on other events follow #WalterScott250 or refer to www.walterscott250.com
The show has been commissioned by David Harron at BBC Arts, BBC Scotland. It will be directed by Lisa Fairbank and produced from Factory’s Glasgow base by Stewart Houston.
FACTORY is a regional indie set up in 2012 by Julie Heathcote and Lisa Fairbank, both multiple award winners with 25 years of TV production experience. The company specialises in arts related output - opera, music, performance and books - most recently the Glyndebourne Opera Cup 2020 with Chris Addison and Danielle de Niese for Sky Arts and for BBC4.
Damian Barr is an award-winning and bestselling writer, broadcaster and journalist. His memoir, Maggie & Me, won Stonewall Writer of the Year and was named Sunday Times Memoir of the Year. His debut novel, You Will Be Safe Here, was shortlisted for six major awards and a named a Book of the Year in the Observer, Irish Times and The Times. He has written columns for The Times, Sunday Times and Big Issue and hosted Front Row on BBC Radio 4. Damian hosts the Big Scottish Book Club and Shelf Isolation on the BBC. In 2020 Damian gained his PhD in Creative Writing and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He keeps chickens and lives in Brighton.
www.damianbarr.com twitter: @damian_barr insta@MrDamianBarr