Alexander McCall Smith

Episode 2 Alexander McCall Smith



When asked why he was going to introduce gay characters into his novels, the author Alexander McCall Smith calmly pointed out “I do not like hurtful or cruel portrayals of any group”.

It is with the same gently put but mightily firm authority that he imparts this monologue on how elderly people of faith can feel isolated from modern life and abandoned by society. He also argues that nostalgia does not have to be a bad thing — that there are lessons to be learnt from how we used to co-exist. McCall Smith sees a nation more interested in personal wealth and status than good manners and decent behaviour.

This sounds old-fashioned when put so simply but this master of words delivers a convincing case for accepting that if other people are made happy through faith, then respect that and let them be.


Six well-known figures from public life speak as part of this year's lectures on the theme of abandonment. Author Alexander McCall Smith presents the second talk, focusing on how people can feel abandoned by society as they grow older.