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WITH their wild terrain and pristine seashores, the remote islands of Uist are deemed 1 of the nation’s very best-retained insider secrets.

But the Outer Hebrides were being nearly overrun with celeb presenters very last autumn following the Covid pandemic curtailed globetrotting.

Joanna Lumley recalls today how she bumped into Jeremy Clarkson, James May possibly, Richard Hammond and their 45-strong crew as they filmed The Grand Tour on the 6-island chain, which has a total population of just above 5,000.

The trio also crossed paths with comedians Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse, no doubt eager to capture some of the area’s plentiful trout and salmon for their BBC2 series Gone Fishing.

Just weeks later, Dame Darcey Bussell would make the 40-mile journey from the mainland for her new Wild Coasts Of Scotland display.

And Romesh Ranganathan also visited the Outer Hebrides – specifically the isles of Skye, Harris and Lewis – for his Xmas BBC present The Misadventures Of Romesh Ranganathan.

Clarkson not too long ago quipped how the Outer Hebrides ‘must have completed fairly well out of Covid’ in phrases of readers – a sentiment not disputed by publican Alan Graham, from South Uist’s Orasay Inn.

‘We’ve had a good deal,’ he reported. ‘Obviously, these types of programmes assistance us. We always take pleasure in the publicity it gives us. ‘There is no doubt about it, this is a really appealing position to take a look at.’

Ms Lumley, whose preceding travel shows have included sailing the Nile, admits in today’s You journal that the travelogue market place is saturated. ‘Michael Palin kicked it off,’ she suggests. ‘But now everybody’s undertaking it. Stephen Fry, Sue Perkins – you name it, somebody’s been there in advance of you. The globe has turn out to be very tiny in phrases of what has not been carried out.’

Ms Lumley experienced prepared to make a documentary last yr retracing the historical spice route, but ended up filming at attractiveness spots across the British Isles throughout the quick lull amongst lockdowns.

Her Household Sweet Household introduced on ITV final week, highlighting the ideal of the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales and Essex.

Patricia Yates, of VisitBritain, claimed: ‘These programmes are pretty very good at obtaining out the expected and the surprising and, of class, always appears to be like beautiful. Getting a personality that connects you to it is constantly a authentic optimistic.’