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New series ‘Miriam Margolyes: Impossibly Australian’ visits Perth

Miriam Margolyes has made several series exploring her second home Australia, but often her journey has taken her around the country but not to the west coast.

Her third series Miriam Margolyes: Impossibly Australian restores the balance as it begins with the acting legend flying into Perth.

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Margolyes explores Perth noting that it’s the Australian city that has the highest level of immigrants, and Western Australia is the country’s richest state thanks to its massive mining industry. At Perth airport she immediately finds it as the baggage carousel is surrounded by people in hi-vis yellow outfits.

In her quest to uncover who Australians are, and what role class and fortune play in Australian lives Margolyes explores a range of groups and people and is constantly finding that English expats are everywhere.

From meeting the members of a Jaguar car club and taking a spin up West Coast Highway to heading to the Royal Perth Yacht Club and setting off for a yachting race on the Swan, Margolyes discovers many different people and asks them questions in her own no-filter style.

She meets Kylie, who is both blind and an amputee, and really into racing yachts. At Scarborough Beach she strikes up a conversation with Georgia a young woman who moved to Australia three years ago and is now travelling the country in a station wagon.

She chats to Zoe, a sex worker, who invites Margolyes back to her apartment for an unexpected conversation about sex toys and why sex work is an appealing profession.

Comically Margolyes has some suggestions on how to build support for changing Western Australia’s antiquated laws relating to sex work.

The star also visits Perth’s Jewish community, where she finds Rabbi Dan is another immigrant and hails from Manchester.

Margolyes says while she was raised in the Jewish faith, she is no longer a believer in God, and is also a committed anti-Zionist. The trip to the synagogue is an emotional moment though and leads to a blunt conversation with the local Rabbi.

When she heads to get a haircut she meets a different part of Australia’s immigration story, she encounters Joan who moved to Australia from Zambia.

Joan shares that she found a lot of racism and stigma in the local hairdressing industry when she first began working locally, but she discovered a clever way to break down the barriers. Now she works with teenagers helping them to build their confidence.

As she travels through the streets of Fremantle she meets Australians who were born in far flung locations including Germany and Cuba – before encountering First Australians. Accounts of Australia’s stolen generation provide a somber counterpoint to the encounters with people who have chosen to make Australian their home.

A conversation with Jim Morrison and Tony Hansen brings to harsh reality of the treatment of Indigenous Australians, and what’s needed for our country move forward. Together they travel to the Marribank Mission near Katanning and it’s an emotional moment.

Like all of the series Margolyes has hosted the beauty is the combination of the wide range of people featured, and the questions and reflections the actor offers.

Upcoming episodes see Margolyes heading to Byron Bay – where she asks Jade Kevin Foster “What the fuck is an influencer? – and then she travels to Broken Hill in the final episode to visit the town made famous by the Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. 

Miriam Margolyes: Impossibly Australian begins on ABCTV at Tuesday 9th April. All episodes will be available on iView. 

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