Border Country: The Story of Britain's Lost Middleland

Border Country: The Story of Britain's Lost Middleland

Series 1 - Episode 2



As Rory Stewart MP rides with Marine commandos in freezing conditions off Northumberland, he conjures the spirit of the Vikings, whose eighth-century raids brought the powerhouse kingdoms of Britain to their knees. From the Norsemen to Edward I, the area that now forms northern England and southern Scotland (he calls it the Middleland) has been subject to so many surges of violence, power struggles and periods of brutal lawlessness that it’s hard to keep up.

Stewart, pointedly dynamic as he clambers over rocky terrain and mounts the staircases of Peel towers in the manner of a reiver on a midnight raid, seems passionate about his subject. But of course, the nature of the border between Scotland and England could soon be altered – and even though the history of these beautiful lands is good stuff, it feels like the build-up to Stewart’s feelings on the possible reinstatement of the “harsh, artificial” border line.


Part two of two. Rory Stewart reveals how a thousand years after the Romans left, Britain split once again near the line of Hadrian's Wall into the kingdoms of England and Scotland. The historian examines how the borderlands became a zone of anarchy and violence.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Rory Stewart
Director Jon Eastman
Executive Producer Chris Granlund
Producer Jon Eastman
Series Producer Emma Whitlock