The Wheel Of Time

Amazon Freitag


Alan and Miriam, Lost in Scotland

Channel 4, Tuesday


The Wheel Of Time, starring Rosamund Pike, is Amazon’s most expensive project to date and is being billed as its answer to Game Of Thrones. Or is WOT the next GOT? Oder does WOT become GOT? 

(Yes, if you can’t be bothered to read on; we’re all busy people.) Is the darkness rising in the meantime? You bet.

It is based upon Robert Jordan’s 789-book series. 

Amazon's most expensive project to date kicks off with Rosamund Pike (above) as Moiraine, a blue-caped member of the Aes Sedai

Amazon’s largest project is now underway with Rosamund Pike (above) playing Moiraine, the blue-capped member of Aes Sedai.

(I’m a busy person but have, just now, bothered to look that up, miraculously. It contains 14 books. There is also a prequel novel and two companion novels. They all feature a gorgeous woman and a sword as covers.

It launched with three episodes. Weekly episodes will follow.

Pike plays Moiraine, a blue-caped member in the Aes sedai magical order of nuns. She explains that the darkness is rising, and only the Dragon Reborn has the power to save it.

The savior has been found by her in Two Rivers, an isolated settlement. 

Knowing that the Dragon is about to come of age, she discovers that four possible options are available: Rand (Josha Strodowski), Egwene [Madeleine Madden], Mat (Barney Harris), and Perrin (“Marcus Rutherford”) who dress up as Poldark extras.

Rand and Egwene have fallen in love. Unfortunately, this plays out in the same way as one of those photo stories in a teenage magazine. Pike was the main actor, so I am assuming that she got most of it. 

I’m not sure much went on the script: ‘All we can do is the best we can with the life we’ve been given.’ Or: ‘It’s a lonely life, being a Wisdom.’

Before she can figure out the identity of the unique one, Trollocs attack the village. A Fade is also present. 

The world-building process is confusing for those who are not familiar with the book. 

Rafe Judkins is the showrunner and comes from Marvel. This has a Marvel story. That is, it’s jeopardy, jeopardy, lame joke, jeopardy, jeopardy, lame joke, and the dark, is it still rising? You bet.

You could say I’m the wrong audience for this, having never liked fantasy. (When I was a kid, I liked The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe – until they all went into the wardrobe, then I didn’t.) However, I was totally captivated by GOT. 

It had political elements rather than pure good v evil. In the very first episode, we saw incest and a baby being shoved out of a window.

The Wheel Of Time, I should mention, is satisfyingly woman-centric – only women can wield the One Power; men can’t be trusted – and it is spectacular. 

Amazing CGI, stunning battles and towns that shatter in their entirety are all great, but it is not storytelling. I’ve awarded three stars because, if this is what you like, I’m confident you will like this. But it’s not going to draw others in.

I’ve been annoyed by celebrity travelogues in my past. Alan and Miriam are Lost In Scotland This is a wonderful book, full of great life lessons. 

‘You can’t live your life being frightened of Madonna,’ says Miriam at one point, and while I’ve always suspected as much, it’s good to have that confirmed.

Miriam Margolyes & Alan Cumming are travelling in an RV around Scotland. Their chemistry is wonderful. He assists her getting in and out from the van. ‘Can I touch your bum, Miriam?’ ‘I want you to,’ she replies. They don’t sleep in the RV.

Lost In Scotland starring Alan Cumming and Miriam Margolyes (above) was not just moving but was also the last thing you ever expect from a celebrity travelogue: it was genuine

Lost In Scotland with Miriam Margolyes and Alan Cumming was not only moving, but also was the best celebrity travelogue that you can imagine.

Miriam has shown us in the past that Miriam can be anxious when she’s far from a public toilet. So, in essence, Miriam and her friends are using a car to get around in a private toilet. It’s amazing. I actually think if I could travel in a toilet, I’d do it more.

Both have Scottish roots. Miriam’s father was Glaswegian, and we see the tenement where he lived, and Alan is Scottish. 

They investigate whether Alan may be related to the Scottish aristocracy. Miriam receives a blanket and they visit a tartan manufacturing plant. ‘Can I keep it? I LOVE IT.’

All delightful, but then they visit Alan’s childhood home, where he unravelled as he remembered his ‘violent and abusive’ father. 

I’ve since learnt that this had been detailed in his memoir, Not My Father’s Son, but I had no idea and was not expecting it. You don’t find Joanna Lumley unravelling when she visits wherever she is visiting this time.

Alan became ‘wobbly’. His father had his sheep shearers shearing his hair in the shed that he visited. We saw the lawn he’d been forced to mow in the dark. His father was ‘a tyrant’, ‘everyone was afraid of him’. 

Alan was allowed to enter but couldn’t. Miriam broke down, it wasn’t just emotional but also the most genuine thing that you can expect in a celebrity travelogue.

It’s probably not quite up there with Bob and Paul going fishing, but nearly.