Spotlight on Scotland earns top US television award

A documentary exploring Scotland through the eyes of one of the country’s most popular actors has won a prestigious American Television prize.

Photograph by: VisitScotlandAlan Cumming and George Oliphant at Tay Forest Park

NBC’s 1st Look: Scotland, featuring the award-winning Scottish actor Alan Cumming taking his friend George Oliphant on a whistle-top tour of the country, was named best Lifestyle Program at the recent 60th annual New York Emmy Awards.

1st Look is a popular lifestyle magazine show which broadcasts across America immediately after Saturday Night Live. The episode, which was planned and developed by VisitScotland’s US Global Brand Team, saw Alan and George travel to Scotland for a week-long shoot, which took in Edinburgh, the Scottish Borders, Perthshire, Angus, Glasgow and Loch Lomond.

Filmed through Alan’s eyes, the aim of the programme was to inspire US visitors to follow in the footsteps of The Good Wife and X-Men star and plan their own visit to Scotland.

Working closely with Scottish tourism businesses VisitScotland created the show’s filming itinerary. The show featured hosts both men enjoying everything from a traditional ceilidh in Glasgow to a dram by the fireside at Glamis Castle, where Alan recited lines from “The Scottish Play” – Macbeth.

Edinburgh Castle, Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre Alan’s home town of Aberfeldy in Perthshire all feature in the documentary, first broadcast in the United States in February, while Alan and George are also given a tour of the National Portrait Gallery by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

“Considering I define myself as Scottish before everything else, it seems fitting that after five nominations for acting, I win an Emmy for expressing love and wandering around my homeland!,” said Alan Cumming on receiving the award.

Ahead of its broadcast to more than 6 million American homes, VisitScotland organised a private screening of the episode for US media in New York, leading to large pieces of media coverage in the likes of Conde Nast Traveler US.

At the awards ceremony at New York’s Marriott Marquis’ Broadway Ballroom, NBC Producer Brian Mait gave VisitScotland a special mention in his acceptance speech, also telling attendees that they “should go visit Scotland”.

“Winning an Emmy Award is fantastic recognition for a programme that showed the Spirit of Scotland at its very best. We were delighted to work so closely with NBC and with Alan Cumming on this very special production and we hope it inspires more visitors from the United States to come here and discover exactly what Scotland has to offer,” said Helen Campbell, Head of Global Brand and Marketing Communications at VisitScotland.