Lanarkshire author goes in search of Sir Walter Scott for TV programme marking 250th anniversary of his birth

An author from Newarthill is on the trail of one of Scotland’s biggest literary names for a new TV programme.

Damian Barr, who grew up in the village near Motherwell goes in search of the legacy and lasting influence of Sir Walter Scott.

The special television programme marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scott, one of Scotland’s great historical figures, novelists and poets.

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Damian’s travels take him from the huge Scott monument on Prince’s Street Edinburgh, to Smailholm Tower in the Borders, which inspired Scott as a child.

The search also takes him Loch Katrine – the setting for Sir Walter Scott’s most famous poem; The Lady of the Lake –and to Doune Castle, which featured in his debut novel Waverley, and is a setting which continues to inspire historical novelists to this day.

Damian, who is well-known to television audiences as the host of The Big Scottish Book Club on BBC Scotland, goes on a personal journey to discover the truth about the man, his world and his work.

He meets with world experts including Professor Alison Lumsden, of Aberdeen University, novelist James Robertson, Stuart Kelly author of “Scott-land”, and Kirsty Archer-Thompson curator at Abbotsford – Scott’s birthplace.

In Search of Sir Walter Scott, a production by Factory Films, reveals the long lasting influence of Scott and his writing, his political campaigning and his role in creating a version of Scotland we are still living with today.

Damian said: “Walter Scott remains one of the world’s most famous writers…the pioneer of a new literary genre, historical fiction, he changed the way the world views Scotland and how we Scots see ourselves.

“His legacy is all around us but he is almost invisible now. He outsold his contemporaries Lord Byron and Jane Austen, but these days Scott’s works are barely lifted off the shelves.

“Like a lot of people, I’ve got an idea about Scott, but is it accurate?

“So that’s why 250 years after his birth I’m going in search of Sir Walter Scott.”

The programme In Search of Sir Walter Scott will go out on the BBC Scotland channel tonight, Tuesday, August 10 at 10pm and will be available to view on BBC iPlayer.

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Daily Record – Motherwell