Boswell & Johnson's Scottish Road Trip with Frank Skinner & Denise Mina

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In 1773, Samuel Johnson, creator of the English dictionary and Edinburgh-born James Boswell, Johnson’s future biographer, made a Grand Tour of Scotland. Both wrote their own very different accounts of the journey. Now, comedian Frank Skinner and best-selling Scottish novelist Denise Mina are recreating this famous trip for Sky Arts. Taking to carriages, horses and boats, just like the 18th century pair, they will travel around the coast of Scotland, exploring the great monuments of the Lowlands, the majestic beauty of the Highlands and the rugged, isolated splendour of the Hebridean Islands.

For Frank Skinner, this series is the culmination of a lifetime obsession with Samuel Johnson – one of his proudest achievements was when he became president of the Samuel Johnson Society in 2010. The journey allows him to step into what he calls the “buckled shoes” of his literary hero, learning how he coped with the difficult and often dangerous journey around Scotland’s coast.

Denise Mina is also fascinated by Boswell – a lawyer and an aristocrat, he is famous today for his book, The Life of Samuel Johnson, which has been called the first modern biography. But Boswell is strangely unrecognised in Scotland (there is no statue to him) – by making this journey, Denise learns about Boswell’s superlative skills in recording everyday life.