In a new six-part series that debuted on BBC earlier this month, Stephen Fry travels, mostly in a London cab (not the same one he actually drives when in Britain), through all 50 states of the country that he could have nearly called home and which has always fascinated him. In this first episode, he explores the states that make up New England, before heading south to Washington, D.C. and ending up at the civil war battlefield of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.
More from episode one is available here.
Fry describes why he made the series on his blog:
Most people who are obsessed by America are fascinated by the physical – the cars, the music, the movies, the clothes, the gadgets, the sport, the cities, the landscape and the landmarks. I am interested in all of those, of course I am, but I (perhaps because of my father’s decision) am interested in something more. I have always wanted to get right under the skin of American life. To know what it really is to be American, to have grown up and been schooled as an American; to work and play as an American; to romance, labour, succeed, fail, feud, fight, vote, shop, drift, dream and drop out as an American; to grow ill and grow old as an American.
For years then, I have harboured deep within me the desire to make a series of documentary films about ‘the real’ America. Not the usual road movies in a Mustang and certainly not the kind of films where minority maniacs are trapped into making exhibitions of themselves. It is easy enough to find Americans to sneer at if you look hard enough, just as it is easy to find ludicrous and lunatic Britons to sneer at. Without the intention of fawning and flattering then, I did want to make an honest film about America, an unashamed love letter to its physical beauty and a film that allowed Americans to reveal themselves in all their variety.
Fry talks here to Tim Dowling of The Guardian about the series and his fascination with America.