Impressionist Bremner set to perform for the troops
SCOTTISH impressionist and writer Rory Bremner is set to perform for soldiers suffering the physical and mental scars of Afghanistan and other conflicts after making a moving film on the history of Scottish troops.
Known for his searing parodies of George Bush and Tony Blair as they took their countries to war in Iraq, the television star has been in talks about performing in Afghanistan itself, though no date is confirmed.
Bremner met young Scottish soldiers en route to Afghanistan as he made an hour-long documentary, The Fighting Scots, tracking the history of Scots in the British army from Culloden to the present day.
Broadcast on BBC Four tomorrow it explores how Scottish troops went from being "kilted bogeymen" to heroes of the British Empire.
It notes how Scotland bore a disproportionate share of casualties in the First World War, and how even today, there is a battalion recruited for every 700,000 people in Scotland against 1.3 million in England.
Bremner – whose father, grandfather, and great-grandfather served with distinction in the British Army – visited soldiers' memorials in Edinburgh as a child.
He is considering moving back to a Borders home in Scotland with his young family.
In the film, he visits the battlefields of the Crimean War, where his great-grandfather, Surgeon General John Ogilvy, was decorated. He is also pictured at the site of the Battle of the Somme, where the names of Scots dead fill up memorial panels.
Bremner said that talking and hearing about soldiers out there, particularly the Black Watch, had brought home the personal sacrifices they made, and put the idea of a performance "on the radar".
"If you are doing it, you are doing it for the soldier," he said. "I'm in two minds about Afghanistan, but it's a contribution that you can make that way.
"They are coming face-to-face with a very difficult situation, and coming back to a public that doesn't know what they are doing and why they are there."
Bremner, who grew up in Edinburgh, said a concert for Combat Stress, which helps ex-servicemen suffering psychological and mental problems, is confirmed.
Another appearance is planned for Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, where badly injured soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are treated.
Talks about an Afghan trip are in an early stage and will depend on logistics, he said, adding: "I do lots of different charities, but these haven't been on my radar until now."
The programme is part of a special Scottish season on BBC Four to mark a decade of devolution. It includes A Portrait of Scotland with actor Peter Capaldi, on artists and paintings that tell the story of changing Scottish faces; and Scotland on Screen, presented by actor Alan Cumming, celebrating classic films and their Scottish locations.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West