In the Land of the Northern Lights, Greek Odyssey, Trans-Siberian Adventure, Hidden Caribbean: Havana to Haiti… If you look through the titles of some of Joanna Lumley travel documentaries, it can seem like the actress has been everywhere.
However, there’s one place that was missing – Britain. Luckily, she’s now putting that right with Joanna Lumley’s Home Sweet Home – Travels in My Own Land, which began last week.
The presenter admits that it wasn’t originally her plan to go exploring in the UK. She says: “It was really necessity being the mother of invention. Last year we were due to go on a huge trip following the spice route from right across the other side of the world all through Indonesia and Sri Lanka and Mauritius then the Red Sea and into Egypt, but of course that was put on the backburner because of the pandemic.”
Fortunately, instead of being disappointed, the India-born star saw it as an opportunity. “I’d always longed to do something about home. Home sweet home. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t born here, even though I’m British, I wasn’t born here, and my father wasn’t born here. We’re British people but we didn’t actually have a home here, but we’ve made it our home. I completely love this country. I just love these islands, and it was a perfect excuse to say shall we look around here?”
However, just because she was filming close to home, it doesn’t mean there weren’t challenges. Joanna says: “I’ve got to say, we were being chased, it was like surfing in the front of a wave because Covid was coming behind us all the time. We were so careful, we were tested, tested, tested and everywhere we went we followed all the regulations. But we were just in the nick of time, you couldn’t do it now.”
While making the series had its challenges, there were also plenty of rewards. Joanna says: “I think our country is so varied, both geologically, because it looks so different everywhere you go, but also with regards to the people, who were so nice and interesting.
“Everywhere we went, I thought, ‘I could spend a weekend here, in one place, looking at everything.’ It was wonderful. Usually when you get a break you feel like you want a bit of sunlight, but, actually, if you can bear to put on a sou’wester, you can have a lovely time in this country.”
She’ll be having a lovely time in this episode, which finds her visiting Northern Ireland and one of her personal highlights, the Outer Hebrides.
She explains: “Going across the sands with the huge Highland cattle to their winter grazing ground, it was like something from a film. The drone shots were like nothing you have ever seen, the flat glassy sands with these animals longing to get to the little island where they stay all through the winter. They have their calves there, they graze there, they simply adore it, it’s like summer holidays to them. It was such a privilege to see that.”
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