HOLLYWOOD star Ewan McGregor is to front a new fly-on-the-wall television series set to show the Scottish Highlands in a brand new light.
A BBC Scotland show will follow the course of the seasons in the heart of some of the nation’s most remote and rugged landscapes.
The Perthshire-born actor will be narrating Highlands - Scotland’s Wild Heart, which has been around three years in the making and will go on air later this year.
BBC Scotland says the programme, which involved more than 300 days of filming, will show “how the animals and people of this stunning part of the world manage to turn adversity to their advantage”.
After finishing his work on the programme in Los Angeles at the weekend, he told his Twitter followers: “I just finished recording of the narration for Highlands – Scotland’s Wild Heart. It’s incredibly beautiful and made me incredibly homesick.”
Filming locations for the series ranged across the Highlands, taking in the splendour of the Cairngorms, dramatic northern seascapes, the ancient Caledonian pine forests, the vast Flow Country, the granite cliffs of Handa Island and the mysterious depths of Loch Ness.
Filming challenges included a night when 15,000 lightning strikes hit across Scotland, as well as one of the autumn’s biggest storms with gale force winds during filming of seal pupping.
The series, which is expected to be show across the UK network, is being made for BBC Scotland by Glasgow-based production company Maramedia. The company was alslo behind the acclaimed show Hebrides – Islands on the Edge, which was shown three years ago.
McGregor, who is due to return to Scotland in May to shoot the sequel to Trainspotting, has released a number of family photographs of his schoolboy holidays in the Highlands to coincide with the announcement of his involvement with Maramedia for the second time, having also fronted the Hebrides programme.
His mother Carol said: “I’ve always loved the Highlands and had many great family holidays in summer, camping, and in winter, skiing. It will be lovely to hear Ewan narrating this new series.”
Nigel Pope, managing director of Maramedia, said: “All the favourite Highland animals make show-stopping appearances – roe deer, seals, dolphins, red squirrels, golden eagles, ospreys, pine martens, seabirds, capercaillies and mountain hares.
“But many strange and unfamiliar plants and animals also put in an appearance – the bizarre timberman beetle with antennae five times the length of its body; the insect-devouring sundew plant and the spectacularly-coloured Slavonian Grebe – Scotland’s rarest breeding bird.
“We have macro-photography illuminating some of the smallest but incredibly fascinating wildlife and slow motion capturing some of the grandest flights and hunts, while aerials shots, using a state of the art system, reveal the Highlands in all its glory.”
Craig Hunter, commissioning editor for the BBC, said: “Viewers will be treated to a beautiful portrait of life, in the Highlands, for the animals and people that live there.
“Some of the animal behaviour captured for this series has never been filmed before.”