Miriam Margolyes continues her road trip through the heartlands of middle America, where she tries to survive a kids summer camp and spends some time in jail.
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Miriam Margolyes is on a mission to find out the state of the States.
She's two weeks into her journey.
Erm... Oh, something is...
Somebody's stopping me.
I'm being pursued.
I'm apprehensive. I don't want to fail.
Hey, you're going down a one-way.
-Oh, my God!
-Yeah, this is a one-way, going southbound.
-You're travelling northbound.
-Thank you. God, I'm...
-You got a licence and insurance?
-Yes, I do.
I think it's extremely important
that we should understand the Americans
that we don't know, and give them a chance.
Thank you for stopping me.
I'm very rough on Americans sometimes,
and I tend, occasionally, to look down on them,
and that is shocking, and I should be smacked for that.
-If there's trouble, I'll find it!
Is your kind face going to get you through all sort of endeavours?
My only weapon is my mind and my beauty.
So, when I turn my lights on and get in front of you to stop traffic,
you swing this way and just go back south.
And of the two of them, I think I'll go for the mind.
This programme contains some strong language
76-year-old actress Miriam Margolyes
is on an epic two-month road trip down the middle of Middle America.
This is a journey that will take her
down through the American heartland,
ending in the Deep South of New Orleans.
A former US resident,
Miriam's going to discover the America she doesn't know,
and meet the people whose voices and votes
are changing the shape of the country.
Having sweet-talked her way out of trouble,
Miriam's back on the road.
That was really horrible.
We have an exceptional country, an exceptional way of life,
but it's being tread on by sick, sick people.
Pride in our values should be taught by parents and teachers.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
American values are apple pie,
picket fences, and family,
of which family is the most important.
The trouble is that a hell of a lot of families are not functional.
Over 200 miles into her road trip,
Miriam's heading towards a small summer camp
in the great outdoors of Southern Indiana.
For generations, Americans have been sending their kids to summer camps,
trying to instil in them the values
that will make them perfect members of society,
and Miriam is going to join them.
I don't really like the great outdoors.
I like the great indoors.
I loathe action and sports. Loathe them!
I sounded just like Maggie Smith then.
No, but I really do.
I was always the last person to be chosen for a rounders team.
I say that with some pride.
Miriam will be joining 150 children at Camp Carson
for an experience the camp claims will empower them
to take on life's opportunities as confident, caring,
responsible and honest young people of strong character and faith.
-Welcome to camp.
-Thank you very much.
-I'll never be ready.
-This is for you.
-What's your name?
-You are in the Kickapoo Cabin this week.
-In which one?
And we're off.
So, how's it going so far?
Well, this is not my idea of fun, I have to tell you.
CAMP COUNSELLOR LAUGHS
While the young campers have to share,
Miriam has one of the traditional log cabins to herself.
-This is your lovely home.
-It smells of something. Phew!
It's just the, erm, outdoor scent. It's very natural.
Oh! An outdoor scent?
What do we need that for, if we've got the outdoors?
Erm, it just makes you feel at home in nature.
It smells like a sort of lavatory cleaner or something.
-I don't know if I smell it.
You don't smell it?
Oh, it's gut-wrenching. Phew!
We can work on that.
What am I supposed to do now?
There's a meeting down at Chapel, and that's when all the kids...
The first time that they get introduced to camp rules and stuff.
-I probably should go to that.
-So, shall we go back to the chapel?
-Yes, we probably should.
-I never thought I'd say those words,
-but perhaps we should...
-We should go back to the chapel.
..go back to the chapel.
-We can raise the roof!
Americans seem to pop out of the womb
singing and dancing as if they were in a Hollywood musical.
You've got to appear to be completely confident, happy.
You know, everything's got to be great.
Who's excited to be here?
I see that it's a bonding exercise.
You're walking down the path and you see a 10 bill.
It's just like the one you had last week,
-so you pick it up and put it in your pocket.
They're making a society with its rules...
-First one was...?
-Second one was...?
-Third one was...?
-Try your best.
-Doing what's right.
-Doing the right thing.
..but the idea of enforced jollity is terrifying to me.
And it makes you understand why America is the way it is,
if this is how they bring them up -
screaming and shouting and dancing about in a silly way.
I can hear the song of the cricket, which is quite sweet.
Better than kids, anyway!
Ooh, God, those kids.
I don't know.
There's something about hundreds of kids screaming
that drives me mental.
The idea of actually climbing and swimming and pottery...
Pottery - good God!
That's the bloody last thing I want to do!
But they're building little Americans,
and I want to know what that process is.
A week's stay at camp costs up to 700,
but reductions are in place to try and get all American children
to share the experience.
The camp runs a packed itinerary of sports and activities
specially designed to create well-formed US citizens.
Please remove all hats and bandannas!
Each day begins at 7am in the same way.
-I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America, and to the...
This morning's Pledge of Allegiance was led by Bobby.
He's been coming here for 14 years,
first as a camper, now as a camp counsellor.
The point of all this, is it to become a better American?
I think it's more or less becoming a better person.
We always talk about taking how you are at camp
and bringing it into the real world.
-And what's your aim this week?
This is their one week of summer.
This is their one week where they can escape all of reality
-and just live in this camp magic.
-Wow, that's high stakes.
The longer you're here, the more you see it, I promise.
After being here for so long and, like,
seeing what my counsellors did for me,
and the changes that they made in my life -
that's what I want to be able to do for the kids.
-We are the dreamers! We are connected!
I grew up, you know, single mom, going through some struggles.
And since I didn't have a father figure,
Mark actually became a really big person in my life,
and I kind of model myself to be like him, so...
-So, you feel moved and emotional about that?
I love the way that men aren't afraid to cry in America.
You know, in England, it's all about stiff upper lip,
-and all that bollocks.
-Oh, camp's a different place.
-Camp - emotions run freely.
-You can show your emotions.
Camp's a cool place.
Well... How can I say?
-I don't think camp's a cool place.
-You don't think so?
-I think it's a remarkable place...
..but I think it's slightly weird at the moment.
But I may refine my position.
Well, I mean, keep a positive mental attitude.
That's what it's all about.
PMA - positive mental attitude. Bollocks!
I can't stand all that.
-Are we going to hop on the wheel today?
-Hop on the wheel?
Well, I'm going to have a try.
-This is the whole reason why it's called throwing the clay.
You've got to throw it right on there.
You can go and start your wheel up.
Just ever so slowly. We believe in you, girlie.
You could go a LITTLE bit faster, if you wanted to.
-Hey, you're pretty much...
Don't you dare be so positive!
-You've got to be positive.
-You should see what I make.
-It's way worse.
-You'd be surprised what
one positive comment can actually make.
One positive comment will get you a bop on the head.
What about two or three positive comments?
Well, now, I wouldn't like to say.
Oh, look, it's like a...
-Well, I don't know what it's like.
It's a bit rude, isn't it?
You might want to smash that one down.
Yeah! There you go!
Children are encouraged to choose activities
that will take them out of their comfort zone...
..including running their own camp radio show.
Special campers are allowed on as guests.
So, what do you think is important when you're interviewing someone?
-The most important thing?
-You should be polite.
-Yes, be polite. So, don't ask any rude questions.
-Or you can.
-I like rude questions.
This is Camp Carson.
So, we're interviewing Professor...
Oh, gosh! Are we practising?
Just keep going. It's fine.
So, yep, let's get started.
Have you ever met the Queen?
Have I ever met the Queen?
I have met the Queen. I didn't like her very much.
She told me to be quiet.
She really did!
I admire the Queen. I think she's a remarkable woman.
But I'm not sure I would like to spend much time with her.
You know, sometimes, I realise I talk a lot of rubbish.
Do you have any advice for life?
Golly! Advice for life?
And saying that I don't like children -
well, I don't like naughty children. I don't like noisy children.
I don't like children I can't communicate with.
I think you have to take the chances that life offers, be optimistic,
be generous, and to have a place inside yourself
that you don't let anyone reach, that's just you.
But those kids - those kids, I could talk to all day.
Maybe I can ask you, what does it mean to be an American?
It means, like, to be very loyal to your country
and share values and things like that.
What are American values?
We all share, like, beliefs towards
our God, and our flag,
and just being loyal.
And I guess that's what we call our values.
That's a great answer.
When I started listening to them,
instead of overlaying them with my mood,
I realised that it could be a magic place,
and it was, for some of them.
What is your favourite thing about American summer camps?
The thing I like most is the inclusiveness.
You take kids from everywhere - all different types -
and you make them into a group that gets on.
That's what the world has got to learn to do.
At the end of a week's stay,
children are expected to have become part of the camp family,
confident in the values that will set them up for life outside.
These five people right here
have been the closest to family, like, I could ask for.
I want to thank all of you for making this
one of the best couple of weeks of my life.
I'd like to thank everyone for helping me with my character flaws.
I want to thank all my friends here
for just being here to be my friend,
because, outside of camp,
I go through a lot of severe depression,
and a lot of you guys are helping me get better with that.
So, thank you.
Let's not leave that behind at camp.
I want you to think about how we make it better on the outside.
What are things that we've learned in here
that we can take to the outside world and make it a better place?
# Let there always be some love
# Some love to give away
# Let there always be some love
# Some love to give away... #
I have been on a journey.
I have allowed myself to change position, to shift.
I think camp can be transformative. It can change people.
# Let there always be a song... #
Some of these kids do come from very damaged homes,
and some of them are damaged kids, but they've found a formula
to help them through those bad times.
So, camp, to my amazement,
is a positive experience.
Miriam's getting back on the road,
continuing her journey through the middle of America.
Despite over 14 million kids
being taught American values at camp every summer,
something is going wrong when they leave.
It's estimated that 10% of Americans
over the age of 12 are currently using drugs.
We're becoming a drug-infested nation.
Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars.
I've never taken a drug.
Never, ever, ever have I ever had a single drug.
It's pathetic, actually.
I just don't like anything
that takes you away from your own control.
And the only time I think I've ever been drunk -
really drunk in my life -
was at Cambridge, where I was at university,
and I went to a sherry party and I had 17.
17 sherries, you know? Just one after the other.
Well, I was ill for hours. Hours!
And after that, I never was drunk again.
The thing was, I wasn't drunk, I was incapacitated.
I was just one long vomit for three or four hours. It was dreadful!
Drug overdose is now the number-one cause of death
for Americans under 50.
Miriam's leaving Indiana and heading 250 miles east into Ohio,
one of the leading states for overdose deaths in the country.
I'm heading for a little town called Hamilton,
and I think I'm going to meet a sheriff,
-a sort of...
Miriam has an appointment with one of America's
leading anti-drug sheriffs.
What better person to have
as our next president of the United States
-than Donald Trump?
-CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
He actually likes law enforcement!
Let me hear you!
-Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump!
-CROWD CHANTS ALONG
Get it going!
During the last presidential campaign,
Sheriff Richard Jones served as Trump's warm-up man.
Sheriffs are voted for by the people.
12 years ago, prison officer Major Richard Jones
stood for election on the basis of his tough stance on law and order
and his traditional American values.
He's been the sheriff of Butler County ever since.
Hi. Good morning. I've got an appointment to see Sheriff Jones.
-Come on in. The boss is waiting on you.
-Thank you so much.
-I've been hearing a lot about you. How are you doing? Glad to meet you.
-Thank you very much for seeing us.
You cannot work in law enforcement in America without a moustache,
and that includes the women.
This is one of my favourite pictures here.
This is the president of the United States.
I got a meeting, shake his hand, and I'm very proud of him.
He supports the police. He supports the military.
I like that. He stands for getting immigration fixed.
I like that. He stands for building the wall. I like that.
-Between America and Mexico?
-Yeah, we already have...
-Is that what you mean?
Yes. We already have some walls there already.
Why do you like that?
Because we've got to keep these people
that are coming across in certain areas
from coming into our country illegally,
and shipping their drugs in here. That's one of the reasons
he got elected - cos most Americans like the wall.
My wife, she got to meet him, too. I said, "What do you think of him?"
She said, "He had little feet, but I'm impressed with him.
-"I like him."
-Well, I think the feet are the least of the problem.
The sheriff is the highest-ranking law-enforcement official
in the entire county. I have over 1,000 prisoners in my jail.
-I have murderers, rapists.
I have thieves. I have people that are drunk-driving.
I have a little bit of everything.
I've had three babies born in my jail in 18 months.
They're all born addicted and they're born to mostly heroin moms.
That's shocking, isn't it?
And if I have three babies born here in 18 months,
in this jail, what do you think it is in the entire country?
Anybody that tells you we're winning this war on drugs,
they're telling you a lie. We're losing.
And I love my country.
Still, I believe, one of the best countries in the world to live.
You may disagree with me on that. But it's messed up.
What kind of a town is Hamilton?
It used to be a community that was all factories.
And then, when the economy changed,
all the factories moved out,
all the jobs all left and went overseas.
Now, this is a pretty tough neighbourhood now.
Tell me about the people. What are they like?
They're basically like anywhere else in Middle America.
What does Middle America mean?
Middle America means you love your mother,
you like apple pie, you love your country.
-Those are American values?
-Those are American values.
And what people want in Middle America,
they want their kids to go to good schools,
they want to feel safe. It's like a fairy tale.
But if it's only a fairy tale, then it's not real.
-But you believe in this.
-Oh, I believe...
-This is real to you.
-Yes, it's real to me.
Are these values, that you hold so dear,
-are they under threat now, do you think?
Used to the nuclear family - one spouse went to work,
one stayed home and taught your kids the morals and raised your children.
So, you want things to go back to what they were?
It'd be nice, but it's not going to happen.
-I don't think it's going to happen.
-No, it's not going to happen.
-We'll go to the right now.
-But did you feel safe then?
When you feel safe when you're a kid,
and you have nurturing parents, you do feel safe.
-So, you think family values...
-Oh, we've lost...
Have collapsed in America.
America locks up more people than any other country in the world -
almost 2.5 million and rising.
During his reign, Sheriff Jones has overseen
a trebling of his jail's population.
Nearly three-quarters are in for drug-related offences.
He's agreed to take Miriam inside.
When we go to the first set of doors,
everybody has to get inside that sallyport.
-Then I have to take my gun off...
-Yeah, before we can go through the next door.
..and put it in a locked box cos we don't allow the guns back inside.
We're all being watched by cameras.
So, this is our control room here.
Nobody can get in or out without that officer right there
hitting the button and letting you go in and out.
He controls everything from here.
Now, when we go inside, Miriam,
we're going to step out into the middle.
It's built like a submarine so it doesn't flood out,
so we can lock the doors off, and they'll shut one at a time.
-What is that area there?
-That's the common area,
where they come and they eat their meals, where they can watch TV.
TVs are the biggest baby-sitter in the country.
Keeps them from fighting, makes them happy and...
-Stops them thinking?
Prisoners' uniforms are colour-coded,
so guards are quickly aware of an inmate's potential threat.
Red is reserved for violent criminals.
Green stripes are worn by the most low-risk.
-How you doing, ladies?
-Good. How are you?
-Are you guys doing OK today?
-Come on up, Miriam.
-Hi. Good morning.
-You guys know who she is?
-You do look really familiar.
-Harry Potter movie.
-She's the professor in Harry Potter.
-I'm an actress. I play...
-Did you ever watch Harry Potter?
-Oh, my God!
-How old are you?
-May I ask you how old you are?
-And is this the first time you've been in prison?
-Well, that's bad!
-I didn't know we were getting yelled at.
-Not yelled, but it just upsets me.
It upsets me, too.
This is the 17th time I've been here.
-17th? That must be drugs.
What's it like in the prison? Is it hell, or are you managing?
-You can't ask me. I've been here a million times.
-It's not amazing, but...
I'm institutionalised, for sure, so...
I've been locked up pretty much my whole adult life,
-off and on.
-That is so awful.
-Do you guys have kids?
-I got one.
-Who's watching them right now?
-Your family? Your parents?
-Are you Catholic?
-My parents aren't...
No. Why would I be Catholic if I had six kids?
-Well, Catholics have lots of children, don't they?
-Oh, no. It's Protestant.
Forgive me if I seem, you know, cursory about it.
I actually do care.
You're young. You have your lives to lead.
She's going to make me cry. You've got to talk to her now.
Boss, we're going to need some tissues.
-That was so...
-That lady, it's probably the first time...
-..emotional for me.
-..she's probably cried in her whole life.
-Don't you hurt inside when you see that?
-I can't hurt.
I would not sleep at night.
I'm so moved and angered by listening to her.
And I feel that this is part of what's wrong with America,
that people - decent people like that -
are just trapped in their own addiction.
Well, they are trapped, and we've got no cures.
I didn't know I was going to be so upset.
He has a sense of a society in crisis,
and he does seem to see very much an us-and-them division.
He wants to keep those people - them -
away from the good people - his people.
The following morning, Miriam is heading back
to the women's half of the jail.
The sheriff is allowing her to work with the inmates.
-Thank you very much.
-You're very welcome.
Around one in 20 Americans will spend time in prison
during their lifetime.
Miriam wants to know if the people
who've seemingly betrayed the nation's values
can ever be considered good US citizens again.
-Boy, that smells good.
With prisoners woken at 5am, lunch is served at 11.
My grandfather was a poverty-stricken peddler,
an immigrant from Poland...
-Do you know what the menu is today?
-No, we don't.
-We never know.
-You never know?
..and he committed fraud...
Enjoy your meal.
..and he was sent to prison for seven years' hard labour in 1877.
Thank you so much. I'm such a fan.
I've always felt very sympathetic towards criminals,
perhaps because of my great-grandfather. I don't know.
-Thank you, Miriam.
But I've always felt that if I just teetered off my morality,
I could easily fall into the pit of hell.
-What's your name?
-My name's Courtney.
-You're in an orange jumper.
-Does that mean that you're scary?
I think so, but I'm not scary.
It's because I had a violent charge before in the past.
It was a gun charge.
I'm in here now on drug charges.
But we live in a really small town.
We live in the country, in the middle of the woods,
and everybody there's on drugs.
What is your sentence? How long are you going to be here for?
I don't know how long. Right now, I'm facing 20 years.
-That's an incredibly long sentence.
-Yes, it is.
Goodness! Are you married? Do you have children?
I have children. I'm not married.
Do you have a dream?
I want to get out and be with my daughter,
and I want to own my own tree business.
-You're a tree surgeon?
Thank you. Have you got brothers and sisters that are in trouble?
My whole family is in this jail.
-Well, you've got to stay away from them.
-She really does.
-There's 16 of us right now in this jail.
-My family is really bad people.
-You must forget about them.
-Yeah, definitely fuck them.
They got me in a world of trouble.
Do you think that American values would help you at all?
-I mean, family, obviously not...
-..because one of the values in America is family, isn't it?
-If you have a good family...
Yeah, people that had, like, a really bad childhood...
I was molested and raped my whole life.
So, I think drugs was how I coped with life.
Drugs, I think, damaged America incomparably,
and it is extremely painful to see its effects.
Hello. I'm today's porter.
To keep control, only half the prisoners
are allowed out at any one time.
-There are two cups of water here.
-It means, every day,
-half the prisoners have to eat in their cells.
Prisoners can spend money they've been sent from the outside
on a limited number of luxury treats.
-During lunchtime, these are often shared communally.
We're making what's called a break.
-And these are the ingredients.
So, you have to smash everything up. Then, you dump it all in together.
I'm not sure these things are all good for you.
-That's chicken. Chicken breast.
Sometimes, you put a variation on the ingredients
just to have it a little different sometimes.
The basis of it is the soups.
And then you put that 180-degree water in it -
boiling water - and you cook it, so everything melts together.
-It's very strange.
-Yeah, I thought that, too.
-It's actually really, really good.
-But it's really good.
-Better than them trays.
-Yeah, the trays were not that great.
Yeah. So, we put the hot water in.
I hate to think of the calorific value of this.
You don't want to think about that in here. This is your comfort food.
I guess it is.
-You know what?
-I don't want to be insulting, you know...
-I'm going to tell you...
-..but I don't feel appetised by this.
Listen, I felt exactly like that the very first time.
You will be pleasantly surprised. That's the finished product.
-Thank you, ma'am.
-You're very welcome.
It's not bad.
See? Something that looks like that actually tastes really good,
-We say it's slappin'.
There you go. There you go.
Well, I've always thought about myself
that I will be fine in an old people's home
because there'll be people there, and I will make friends with them.
I would be the worst person to share a cell with.
-Because I fart.
-We all fart!
And I think a jail is much the same.
We love you so much, and we just watched all your movies.
I will be fine there, as long as I have friends.
Come on, Homeland Security. We need to go like this. OK.
# We love the trays Got to get them trays made
Got to get them trays made Got to get them trays made
# I said her name is Miriam She's on the mic
# She's up in Butler County Jail in the daylight... #
There is, without doubt, a parallel
between the society of a summer camp and the society of a jail.
What they are actually both doing is recreating another family.
SPEECH DROWNED OUT BY CHEERING
You were brilliant. That's brilliant.
Bye-bye. Bye-bye. Thank you very much.
Most inmates will spend the rest of the day locked back in their cells.
But good behaviour can earn some, like Kara and April,
the right to stay out working.
They're in here, working themselves to death.
Hi, guys. You ready for me?
-OK. So, what gives?
We've got to go in here and wipe everything down.
-This is a cell?
-I'm not even sure... Does this come off?
-Oh, other way.
-Oh, other way. Other way.
-Towards the table.
-Isn't that a sign of what an absolute twot I am?
-There you go!
-Do you two always work together?
-So, you're kind of buddies and...?
-We live in the same cell.
-Oh, you're bunkies?
-We're bunkies and we work together.
I heard about that.
-Straight at the gate and gay for the stay?
-Gay for the stay!
-For sure, yes.
-Is that right?
So, some people are not lesbians,
but they become lesbians just while they're in prison?
-All they want is commissary, or some attention, or...
-Do you know when your exit date is?
-I'm out in 13 days.
Do you feel that society has written you off?
Yes, most definitely.
People look at us and they don't see any kind of future.
-What can be done to give you more inner strength?
-Give us a chance.
Quit tearing us down when we're trying our hardest.
Just because we're heroin addicts, we're still daughters,
-we're still mothers, we're still human beings.
-Those girls will never leave me.
Those... That conversation.
I want, more than anything...
Ask her. She makes fun of me for it.
-But I just...
-We're in love with the idea of being in love.
-Of real love. But the thing is...
-With each other, do you mean?
With a guy. You know, these days,
-it's hard to find.
-You want a proper, stable relationship?
I would probably lay my life down
if I could just have a man look at me like, "You are worth it,
-"and I want to show you that you're worth it."
Because every man in my whole life has shown me nothing but
that you're not worth it, you're worth nothing.
I've never had to come face-to-face
with the agony, the misery, the hopelessness of their position.
Cos I've had my life. I'm old now.
The light is not at the end of the tunnel for me.
It's just the tunnel.
But it doesn't have to be the tunnel for you.
There is light.
I'm not going to say it's Jesus, cos I don't believe in Jesus,
but I can believe in you.
-Can I hug you?
Remember, what I said, it was said with love.
You made me feel good about myself, and I don't do that much.
Well, good! Good.
You know what? You've made me feel good about myself.
-So, that's very important.
Oh, that's the main one.
We had a real communication, and that is extraordinary.
I was deeply moved by it.
Now we're going to go down to the booking area.
A young lady has just been released from jail.
-Leslie, this is Miriam.
-Hi. How are you?
-I'm good. How are you?
-I believe you're on your way out.
-Yes, I am.
-I know. Thank you.
Prison should be a place that people only go to once.
-How old are you?
-I'm 20 years old. I'll be 21 September 17th.
-Oh, darling, you're a child. You're a baby.
If people keep coming back,
something is wrong, something isn't working.
-How many times have you been in prison?
-This is my second time.
-Well, twice is enough, isn't it?
And it's painfully clear in America that that is the case.
They keep coming back.
Despite the US government spending around 80 billion
on jails every year,
over three-quarters of inmates reoffend
within five years of release.
If you come back here, I will be so pissed off,
because I'm the one that walked you out.
-So, I don't want you to come back.
And, you know, honestly, this time, I just have a feeling inside
that I'm going to do right, because I want to.
And I know a lot of people say that. I messed up once before.
-This time, I'm going to do good, and I know I am.
-Try. Really try.
-I'm going to.
You push the door, and I'm coming right out with you.
-Oh, it's not open.
-Miriam, would you like to give her these?
-That's her personal property.
-When it clicks, you push, OK?
-That's my family right there.
-Hey! She's out!
I'm not a mother...
Isn't that wonderful?
..but it doesn't mean that I don't care about people.
-You'll make it.
-Don't come back.
-Don't let her.
-I won't. She's strong.
-Don't let her come back.
And when I saw that girl being released...
..I cried. I couldn't help it, because I wanted, with all my heart,
-that she wouldn't come back.
-We see them leave every day,
-and all we can do is pray that they don't come back.
Oh, I hope she makes it.
Don't come back!
And I don't know what happened.
-We'll get you a tissue.
-No, it's OK. I've got one.
-On this job, I carry 'em with me.
-I tell you, not the first time.
-She's got some. She's got some.
Before she continues south,
Miriam's dropping in to see the sheriff and his family.
-Just ignore the dog.
-I love dogs.
-But I'm not going to ignore you.
-It's very pleasant to meet you.
-Please have some flowers.
-Oh, they're beautiful.
They do smell nice, as well. And so do I.
OK! Pleasure to meet you. I'm Vicky.
-This is my daughter, Amanda.
-I'm so pleased to meet you. Hello.
-Pleased to meet you.
-Now, her husband's a police officer, also.
-Oh, darling, you've gone to such trouble.
-I wanted to.
You're a home queen, aren't you?
I'd like to think of it as a domestic goddess.
That's it! That's what I meant.
I'm not. I'm hopeless.
Heavenly Father, we come to you today so thankful
and so grateful for all the people that are in our home today.
And, God, we are so thankful to you for our blessings. Amen.
I want to hear a bit about you.
-What would you like to know?
Well, I'm from here, in Ohio. He and I met in high school.
My first job, I was a teacher's aide,
but when I started to have kids,
I quit my job to stay home and raise them.
To me, there's nothing better,
if you're having something going on and you're sad or whatever,
for your mom to cook you something.
-You know, something of your favourite.
-That's sort of American values, isn't it?
Family and apple pie?
Oh, yeah. I make a real good apple pie, too!
So, what do you think of the big guy down there at the end of the table?
Well, I know that he is a good man.
I'm just not totally convinced that shutting people up
who have committed offences
that come because they are drug addicts...
I don't think it's a good idea.
But what would you do?
That's the problem. I don't know.
-But it is a disease.
-I disagree with that.
Then you are wrong, ma'am, because it is a disease.
-If you can't...
-It is something that takes over your body like cancer,
-and it's terrifying.
-Well, let's say that
you're right and it is a disease.
They still make that choice to go do drugs, but...
The first one, you're right.
-The first time, it is a choice.
-You are choosing it.
-You are playing Russian roulette with your life.
-With your life.
-And that's what I don't understand.
-We are educated enough
in this country to know that.
-There is no excuse to go out and say,
"I think I want to try heroin. I've never done it."
But what happens is, they'll go to jail,
and then they're going right back to where
they got the drugs to start with cos they don't have anywhere else to go.
-There's no family.
-So, is there any sense in putting them in jail in the first place?
-I don't want them coming to my house and stealing my stuff.
-No, and I...
-Period. I work too hard for my stuff.
-I'd rather they be locked up in jail.
I don't want them driving down the street with my daughter...
But isn't there some other kind of...?
Well, you could shoot 'em,
-but that's not socially acceptable, either.
-Oh, no, I don't mean that.
I just feel that America is failing the people who are failing America,
and I don't know who you blame first.
-I don't know that...
-And America's a place where you like to blame.
-We enjoyed your company. You were very interesting.
-Thank you very much.
-It was lovely.
-And I really mean it. Bye-bye.
-Bye-bye, darling. Yeah.
America is not a forgiving society.
If you transgress the rules of the game, the walls close in.
The door is locked.
First of all, it's the negation of Christianity.
A lot of the people I met were very strong-believing Christians,
but not inclusive.
And as somebody myself...
A fat old Jew, you know?
..I know what it is to be excluded, and it's...it's wrong.
In recent months, President Trump
hasn't exactly been preaching forgiveness.
-For months now,
the leaders of North Korea and the United States
have been goading each other in a war of words
over the unthinkable - the possibility of a nuclear war.
North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States.
They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
Miriam's heading into the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
Here, hundreds of Americans have become so worried about the future,
they're readying themselves for disaster.
They're called preppers.
I think they could be anxious about the possibility of world war,
and atomic war, or something like that,
given that North Korea is obviously off its chops.
I think they're probably worried
about the sudden collapse of the economy,
looting and rioting as a result.
Maybe Trump has exacerbated fears a little.
Well, they'd probably feel resentful
if people would regard them as nutters
because the very act of preparation means that you're thinking ahead.
As my mother would say, "Forward planning is all."
On the outskirts of a small town called Cosby,
Carey and Sonya will provide you with everything you need
to survive in the mountains for the next 25 years.
-Come right this way, ma'am.
-Hey. Good morning.
Welcome to Tennessee Readiness.
-Do you want to look around?
-I'd love to.
Probably our most popular things are our knives.
-So, what would knives be for?
for hunting, or just anything general.
-My name's Carey.
-Nice to meet you, ma'am.
-Call me Miriam.
-Ma'am is too scary.
-Well, welcome to the South.
-Our knives are for bush crafting.
So, we feel like any knife that you take out into the woods,
you should be able to cut down a tree,
you should be able to skin a rabbit.
-Skin a rabbit?
-With one knife.
-And where would you carry that?
-It snaps right on your belt.
-Even on your pocket.
-It's kind of like the old-fashioned sword,
-The long one that we have, yeah.
-You've got a sword, do you?
-No, I don't.
-I'll tell you the truth, I don't.
-How practical are you?
-I am utterly impractical.
I cannot change a plug, sharpen a pencil.
There's nothing I can do.
-What is that?
-If I want to go out into the woods and hide,
-it will cover me.
How long would you survive out in the woods?
I would survive until a car came by and take me into civilisation.
This is the kind of sling that David used to kill Goliath.
You just put your rock right in there,
swing it around twice, and then you let the heavy side go.
-Darling, I'd die.
I'm not really the hunting, shooting, fishing type.
-It's called fun.
Would you like to try some freeze-dried fruit, ma'am?
We put it in a mylar bag like this with an oxygen absorber
-and it'll last 25 years.
A prepper doesn't want to rely on anybody.
We want you to know how to make a shelter
if something happened to your house, if the war came, if there were...
-If the war came?
-I mean, Russia's doing their thing.
North Korea, I mean, they're threatening us every day.
It's just being prepared and not being afraid
because you know you already have what you need.
-It's in our DNA to be prepared. We've been...
-You think about it.
We've been prepared since we came here to America.
We knew there was nobody coming to save us.
Our forefathers fought for this land and earned it,
and we'll do everything we can to keep it.
Is being American being individualistic?
-I think so, yeah.
-It is about the individual.
-It's not about the group?
-It's never about the collective.
-It's always about the individual.
-And what happens to the people
-who don't follow the way that you follow?
-We can't answer for everybody else.
Then you can go to other places and look how they are.
Go to Chicago, go to LA, go to New Orleans, go to Memphis.
People are fighting and killing each other every day.
-We're not doing that out here.
I didn't know anything about the preppers.
I'd never heard of the idea.
In one way, it's nuts.
In another way, it might not be, because they have a president
who can put his finger on the button that's going to explode the world.
For over 30 years, preppers have been building a small community
in the hills based on their perception
of traditional American values.
Carey and Sonya have sent Miriam to stay with Heidi.
Sales rep Heidi has been preparing for the end of the world since 1987.
-I'm Heidi. Nice to meet you.
Lovely to meet you.
-Please come in.
-Thank you very much.
I have been a prepper since the '80s.
When I heard George Bush Sr give a speech
and use the words "new world order",
I got up out of my chair and said, "Oh, my God."
From that moment on, I became a prepper.
I always had a backpack in my car prepared for who knows what.
I don't even know. I just know I had the mentality of it.
I have buckets of things that are buried in different places
that are for emergencies.
Obviously, we would put some food in here.
This is what's called an MRE. The military...
Now, you have other things that you can put away.
This is not just a head net for bugs.
I could get little fish with these.
-I mean, there's many things you can do with that.
-Let me try that on.
All right, now the bugs will stay away.
So, if something is only used for one thing, it's taking up space.
To me, the most important thing that you need is this right here,
which is a water filter.
I remember, in Katrina, there was plenty of water,
but it was not drinkable.
Is there anything else you can think of we might want?
-How smart are you?
-Pretty damn smart!
I'm telling you are learning. You're a quick study.
-Excellent. Well, shall I put the lid on it?
-And then we just screw the lid on.
-And you keep some of these things somewhere?
-And where have you put them?
-Not in the house.
-I have them in a safe place.
-That you alone know?
I wonder if, really, in their secret heart,
they hope it's going to happen.
They hope that the banking system is going to fail.
We have well water. This, up here, is our well house up there.
-Oh, I like that.
-That way, we don't have to have city water,
which is nasty.
They're spending their lives waiting and preparing in case.
Now, you're not going straight into the river, are you?
Of course. I'm going straight into it.
-Take a dip!
It's like me when I go on holiday -
I take, you know, too many pairs of knickers in case.
Waste of time.
It seems to me very much an individualistic thing, you know.
You look after you, and I look after me.
And in a lot of cases, that's true. A lot of people are lone wolves.
And that, I don't like.
-I believe in the power of community and togetherness.
So, you assume that people are full of goodness?
Well, I know that not everybody is.
-That, I know.
-Well, when shit hits the fan,
you're going to find out what people are really made of.
America remains the most heavily-armed country in the world.
The number of privately-owned firearms
is over 400 million and rising.
I brought out some of the weaponry that I have.
What you want is something you can point and shoot,
and a revolver is one of those things.
-It is now.
This is my concealed weapon, which I carry...
As you see, a little clip can go on the side,
if I'm in public in a crowded area.
You couldn't get that out in a hurry, could you?
-Because it's all in a pouch.
-Oh, it comes out fast.
And this is my baby. I love this gun.
And it's a Ruger. It looks intimidating.
And it's only a .22, so it's the smallest bullet of them all.
But it could still kill you, couldn't it?
An assassin's gun is a .22.
It's not what bullet you use. It's the accuracy of it.
So, if it's between your eyes, a .22 is sufficient.
But a .22, if somebody is drugged up,
it's not going to stop them unless you hit them in the head.
It's macabre to be in this little, very sweet, rather feminine room
and have three guns that kill people on your dining-room table.
But to think of using it on a human being is awful.
I hope, never in my life, will I ever, ever have to do that.
-But I am prepared.
-It is heavy.
If I thought someone was trying to kill me,
I would shoot them.
-Do you think you're capable?
-I'm capable of all the bad things.
And shooting a human being and killing them -
I am certainly capable of doing that.
That's why I must never have a gun.
Now, this is a bed behind here.
-Doesn't that look fantastic?
-Thank you very much.
-I hope you sleep well.
There's no way I won't.
This is just to prove that I do brush my hair,
because some people don't think I do, which is very unkind.
It's not about being glamorous, is it, Miriam?
It has never been about being glamorous,
-but kind of you to point that out.
I did wear these socks yesterday, but that's all right.
-Oh, toasties! This is great.
Your attitude towards preparedness is,
-"I'm prepared as far as I can be..."
-"..for most eventualities?"
It's my responsibility to take care of me, not the government's.
And if it doesn't happen, so what? But what if it does?
-Are you prepared?
-I wouldn't last five minutes,
and, you know, I haven't got a prepared attitude.
I've got some money in the bank and 12 rolls of loo paper at home,
-That's not even enough!
..that's the extent of my preparedness.
I have a slightly fatalistic attitude
-that I'll just either get by or I'll die.
Despite the preppers' disillusionment with the government,
they haven't turned their back on politics completely.
In the last election, they were staunch advocates of Trump.
Carey from the readiness store has invited Miriam to join her
at their community barbecue.
Hey! How are you?
Carey, how lovely to see you in this beautiful place.
-Thank you, ma'am.
-Oh, it's heaven!
What's on your menu tonight?
Hamburgers, hot dogs, and we have bear burgers.
-I'm not eating bear. That's not...
-Try it while you have a chance.
-No, Jews don't eat bear.
In America, we see things different than a lot of people do.
In what way? Tell me.
We believe that God gave us rights
and we wrote a constitution that keeps the government
from taking the rights that God gave us.
And when the government takes care of you all the time,
then that makes you children.
-We are adults. We are not children.
-But whose rules guide you?
-God's rules guide us, but it is...
The Constitution is written as "we, the people",
not "we, the politicians".
Trump is trying to stop what they've started.
You don't trust the government, the way it works,
-and yet you trust Mr Trump?
-We trust honourable people.
That's why we love Donald Trump.
A year and a half ago, this may sound odd, but...
I was sitting one day and God spoke to me and said, "That's my man."
I see that there is no way that one can tell you
that this man is not a good thing for America.
-But we have to see. Let's wait and see.
# Oh, I've never been to heaven But I've been told
# The walls are jasper and the streets are gold
# I often wonder about that view
# But the greatest thought when we march through... #
I've been trying to find out about American values,
and I feel they may need to be redefined.
It's not family, it's conformity.
"You've got to be the same as us or we'll lock you up,
"we'll exclude you."
And as for preppers...
# Brother Stephen, look... #
..they're right - the world is a perilous place,
and they are wary of something.
And maybe it's of seeing
the America that they cherish disappearing,
but they're not wary enough of Mr Trump.
They seem to have let down their guard entirely
where he's concerned.
And I don't think there's any point in what they're doing, really,
because in a nuclear war, forget it. We're all stuffed.
If the financial system fails, we're all stuffed.
They are not really looking forward at all.
They are looking backwards.
They've come here to escape from the present into the past,
and I don't think people should be escaping.
We should be standing square-on and facing the future and evolving,
Not going back.
Miriam tries to discover if the United States
are the divided states.
Her adventure takes her through the Deep South...
That is horrible.
..from the cowboys of the Wild West...
-You've just never met a lesbian Jew before.
-Oh, my God!
..to the lady bikers of New Orleans.
You've got to go raise your shirt up and show your tits.
-Oh, I can do that any time!
Miriam Margolyes continues her road trip through the heartlands of middle America, heading almost a thousand miles from Chicago to New Orleans to meet the people whose voices and votes are reshaping the nation.
Her adventure starts in Indiana at Summer Camp. Miriam joins the young campers as they begin their days pledging allegiance to God and the US flag and end them sharing thanks around a fire. She meets camp counsellor Bobby and is persuaded to try her hand at pottery.
Next, Miriam heads to Ohio, one of the leading states for drug overdose deaths. She meets antidrug sheriff, Richard K Jones who runs a jail in Butler County.
In the mountains of Tennessee, Miriam stays with a bunch of preppers. Fearful about imminent terrorist attacks, financial meltdown and tensions with North Korea, they fend for themselves, storing supplies of freeze-dried food to survive the next 25 years out in the woods if necessary. Miriam stays with Heidi, a dedicated prepper since 1987.