Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian Review – Straight Questions Cut to the Dark Truth of the Australian Dream | Television

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ANDYou usually know what you get with a travel documentary by Miriam Margolyes, although Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian (BBC Two) sometimes thwarts the trend for straightforward questions, even more direct observations, and shows her willingness to say anything that comes to her. come. head. After traveling the United States in 2018, she turned to Australia. She’s an Australian citizen, has a home in New South Wales and her partner Heather is Australian, so it’s a country she thinks she knows well. However, as she says at the start, “I live in a silly little bubble of people who think like me and look like me.” It’s his attempt to look outside of it.

Those who like to clown Margolyes will find plenty of them. She decides to become a “gray nomad”, albeit temporarily, and will travel 10,000 kilometers across the country to explore what the Australian dream means to its people. Some parts of the van are pressure for this self-described “fat 78-year-old Jewish lesbian”. “I think I might go into the bathroom,” she said, with a glint in her eyes, pulling herself inside. “One tit, two breasts …”

She travels 2,000 miles in this opening episode, which is quick and as wide as the ride. She meets a Chinese real estate multimillionaire, who prefers the term “real estate concierge” and makes a fortune selling lavish Real Housewives-style mansions. Then she meets farmers facing devastating drought conditions that have turned their once green land to dust. As someone who will happily say “I really don’t like children” to parents, and mean it sincerely, she is bound to meet a lot of children as well. Harrison, the son of ailing farmers, tells him he’s hopeful the rain will come. If his father could see the drought of 1982, he says sincerely, “we can get through this.” “Have you heard of climate change?” says Margolyes, who is a little deflating.

Her ability to ask for whatever she wants, no matter how little spared, makes her explorations unique in a way few travel presenters can muster. She meets Claire, a woman in her late fifties who lives out of her van and talks about freedom. “Are you homeless?” Margolyes suddenly asks. It seems callous, but it goes to the heart of a growing problem – the fact that women over 55 are the fastest growing homeless population in the country. Their conversation is enlightening and frank.

Less successful is her interview with Lidia Thorpe, the first woman of indigenous descent to be elected to the state parliament; there was a lot to learn and I wanted Margolyes to listen more and interrupt less. But then, in a charity shop, she meets Moj, who came to Australia by boat from Afghanistan when he was a young boy. His parents died in the war and he is not sure how old he is. His visa will expire next year and, under current Australian rules, he would not be allowed to reside permanently. Both are moved to tears by their meeting. “The Australian dream is fiction,” Margolyes later said to herself, disillusioned and upset.

Much of Margolyes’ appeal is her lack of a filter. This is why she’s such a popular guest on talk shows and podcasts, and why, sometimes, what she says can cause a stench. But the essence of his travel documentaries is simply the old adage that there aren’t people as weird as people, and his desire to learn and understand these people makes his programs his. .

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