Two thirds of Scots do not live in the major cities or the countryside, they live in towns.
So for this new programme, My Kind of Town, presenter Ian Hamilton and his guide dog Major are off to Ardrossan in North Ayrshire, the coastal town and ferry port known as the gateway to wealthy Arran.
Very much the kind of place people pass through rather than a destination in itself, it was once an important medieval fortress, then a centre for shipbuilding, but Ardrossan, like many towns in Scotland has been down on its luck for several decades.
Not a serious investigation, nor a history programme or travelogue, My Kind of Town gets away from the well-worn narrative of run-down small town life and instead gets under the skin of the place.
Ian’s quest is to find the community and generational dynamics of this town; who knows who, where are the old timers and who are the new kids on the block. Ian and Major are going to have a blether with as many people as they can.
The people he meets range from Pamela Campbell who has just started her new dog grooming business, in a shop previously closed for 18 years, to Nathan Payne the Methodist minister running a food bank – a Mancunian who has made Ardrossan his home.
He said: ‘I love it. It is a fantastic place. I often tell people that Ardrossan is the only place I know with three train stations, two beaches, a marina, a ferry terminal and beautiful views and great people.’
But the minister also admits that the town has its challenges: ‘There is a lot of low income and there is a lot of temporary accommodation… Families struggling with various issues like addiction…Food poverty is one of the big things.’
Getting the gen from the locals direct, Ian meets the guys at the bowling club, Julia Gray who is running the community youth group, Alistair Roberts, who is building a new fishing boat down at the harbour, and Martin Kostigovs, from the Ardrossan Castle Heritage Society. He also has lunch at the Italian café, checks out the Mod scene and has a pint in a local pub.
Ian, who grew up in Lanark, says: ‘Two thirds of Scots live in towns, but does their reputation as slightly dreary places, compared to with our metropolitan cities or rural idylls, stand up to scrutiny? As a small town boy myself I think the best people come from the wee places…
‘I get the feeling talking to people here that its best days are behind it and it is feeling a little unloved. However there is a really strong sense of community in the town and a determination to make things better for everyone in Ardrossan.’
My Kind of Town: Ardrossan will air on Thursday, 20 February, on BBC Scotland, from 8-8.30pm.