Miriam Margolyes heads off to search for the ‘fair go’

Miriam Margolyes

Actor Miriam Margolyes returns for a new documentary travel series that once again sees her traversing across Australia. This time round she’s in search of the Australian value of a ‘fair go’.

Miriam Margolyes Unmasked follows the much loved and outspoken actress as she heads out of the isolation of the Covid-19 lockdowns and takes her campervan on the road.

The first episode sees Margolyes heading to Tasmania where she explores the island state’s convict past. Meeting the descendants of those who were sent across the world from Britain for crimes such as stealing a loaf of bread.

She catches up with politician Jackie Lambie. Over a lunch with Lambie’s family the politician shares details of her upbringing and reveals that she left High School having completed only Year 10. While Margolyes is well known for her love of Charles Dickins, Lambie confesses to having read more of Jackie Collins.

The interaction leads to an exploration of the level of education in Tasmania and the states high level of illiterate adults. She goes on to meet people who are learning to read and write in adulthood, many of them having experienced difficult childhoods.

On her journey Margolyes chats with the people she comes across from motorcycles riders to champion wood choppers, and she also seeks out local Indigenous people speaking to legendary activist Michael Mansell.

Speaking to Mansell and his family she learns about the history of Aboriginal people in Tasmania and their efforts to revive local languages. On the day of their meeting the local Peerapper community gathers to mark the anniversary of the Cape Grim massacre of 1828.

Delightfully, on a trip to Ulverstone, Margolyes meets LGBTIQA+ advocate Rodney Croome who shares Tasmania’s fight against homophobia. It’s an incredibly moving interaction that exposes deep trauma from the past.

Meeting members of the local queer community for a family barbeque, Margolyes hears from people what it was like growing up in one of the most homophobic communities in Australia, and how parent’s deal with the revelation that one of their children in same-sex attracted.             

The first of the three part series was filled with interesting and emotional conversations, and has a theme of fighting for acceptance, recognition and ultimately – a fair go.

Check it out on the ABC on Tuesday 19th July at 8.30pm. 

Graeme Watson

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