Scotland in a Day, TV review: After a long month of campaigning, you've just got to laugh


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The Independent Culture

After a day at the polls, a month of campaigning and centuries of increasingly fierce debate, Channel 4's mockumentary Scotland in a Day was a way for the healing to begin. Written by and featuring erstwhile Channel 5 talk-show host Jack Docherty, it featured an ensemble of Scottish comedians and actors playing characters on all sides – but especially the hitherto under-represented "Aaaarrrrghh! I just can't decide!" side.

The format – "self-shot" and set to uplifting music – is borrowed from Life in a Day, a 2011 crowdsourced documentary made by another Scot, Kevin Macdonald. You needn't have understood that reference to appreciate the point, however. Scotland in a Day presented a country full of different sorts of people, all of whom had much more to say for themselves than either Yes or No.

Brian Cox was an academic giving endless talk-radio interviews to witless presenters; Douglas Henshall (Detective Perez from Shetland) was a father determined that his new baby be born on Scottish soil – even as his partner (Isy Suttie) went into labour somewhere on an English motorway. Doon Mackichan got some slapstick laughs out of a woman's attempts to lay her parents' ashes on either side of the border and Elaine C Smith (best known as Rab C Nesbitt's other half) played a jolly volunteer at the polling office. And all of them are Scots. Except for Kayvan Novak. He's from Cricklewood.

Docherty saved the best character for himself, of course. He was a long-haired Yes voter so excited by the prospect of independence that he wears Saltire underpants to bed and had created a Sean Connery collage for his wall. He also gave us what might be the most telling analogy for this debate so far suggested. You've heard the British nations compared to a divorcing couple, but you haven't this pop cultural twist: "The wife's sister's smashed us in the face with a handbag and when that happens, I tell you, it's time to get out of the lift."