BBC films Montrose Academy students

Fifth year student Kirsty McFarlane was chosen to read out a passage
Fifth year student Kirsty McFarlane was chosen to read out a passage

A Higher English class at Montrose Academy were last week filmed by the BBC as part of a new three part documentary series about the ‘Scottish Renaissance’.

The series, which has the working title ‘Wounded Nation’, covers the exciting period of Scottish culture between the 1920’s and 1940’s when the likes of Hugh McDiarmid, William Lamb and Lewis Grassic Gibbon created their best work while living in the Montrose, St Cyrus and Mearns area.

Andy Shanks, principal teacher of English at Montrose Academy who specialises in the literature of the period, has also been filmed for the series.

He said: “The BBC were keen to find students currently studying Lewis Grassic Gibbon to illustrate how the Scottish author is relevant to today’s generation of students. My Higher English class have been studying ‘Sunset Song’ for their exam recently.

“Kirsty McFarlane, a fifth year Higher English student, was chosen to read out a passage from the text which will be used as a voice over for the television programme.

“She was very brave, reading it out in front of the whole class and the film crew with all their recording equipment. She did really well.”

Mr Shanks continued: “‘Sunset Song’ in particular is still very relevant to the students in Montrose; the characters and events in the book are all from towns and villages in this area. They can walk through the book by knowing or visiting places like Edzell Castle, Auchenblae, St Cyrus and Glenbervie.”

He added: “Montrose was a hotbed of cultural activity in the 1920’s to 1940’s. It gave birth to the SNP (McDiarmid was the founding member) and saw the emergence of the Scottish Renaissance. It’s incredible to think these great authors and artists all worked here at the same time.

“There is no evidence that Grassic Gibbon and McDiarmid ever met but they certainly knew of each other. The term Scottish Renaissance was coined later but these years were to have huge repercussions for politics in Scotland.”

The series of three programmes will be aired in February.