Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian 15 July 2022: Episode 2 on BBC Two

Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian 15 July 2022: Episode 2 on BBC Two 11

On the second leg of her journey, Miriam is intrigued by the Australian concept of mateship and how Australia is the only country in the world to enshrine this in its culture.

Miriam’s first stop is a roadhouse south of Alice Springs, where she meets Spud and his mates. She discovers she has a lot to learn about the concept that she considers very masculine. Spud introduces her to Heather, one of the few women truckers in Australia. Female truckers only make up two per cent of the trucking industry, but Heather assures Miriam she feels she is surrounded by ‘good mates’.

Miriam visits the Country Women’s Association to meet some of Alice Springs’ Aboriginal residents and experience their community initiatives. She also meets Aboriginal elders, who set up the Children’s Ground to pass Arrernte traditions, songs, dances and stories on to the younger generation. Miriam worries that despite Australia’s ideals of mateship, the country still hasn’t found a way to bridge the deep divide that exists between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal citizens.

Arriving in Darwin, Miriam encounters a group of transgender Tiwi islanders, who invite Miriam to a drag night that evening. Miriam discovers a community that is more diverse and inclusive than she could ever have imagined. Miriam muses that, for them, mateship is a very ‘evolved state of affection’.

On her last day in Darwin, Miriam is invited to attend a game of Aussie rules. Despite her hesitations, she is soon caught up in the spirit of the game. AFL, Miriam observes, unites Australians of all backgrounds, heritage and colour. It is infused with the spirit of mateship.

Miriam’s travels have given her a new appreciation of the value of mateship as something that reflects the ‘essential decency’ of Australians. But Miriam also wonders whether mateship these days could do with a broader definition, something that celebrates how it can connect us all despite our many differences.

About Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian

New Australian citizen and celebrated film star Miriam Margolyes embarks on a 10,000 kilometre, two month journey to discover what it means to be Australian today.

This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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