Trailer for My Old School a documentary about Brian MacKinnon

20 August 2022

Brian MacKinnon studied at Bearsden Academy, a school near Glasgow in Scotland, until his graduation at age seventeen in 1980. After leaving Bearsden, MacKinnon went to Glasgow University, but his enrolment was revoked after failing course exams. MacKinnon was bitterly disappointed, so he decided — quite literally — to start over again.

In 1993, at the age of thirty, he re-enrolled at Bearsden Academy, posing as a sixteen year old Canadian expatriate named Brandon Lee. For the year he spent there, no one saw through the ruse. None of his classmates were suspicious, nor the handful of original teachers still there, who had taught MacKinnon over a decade earlier.

The deception only came to light after “Lee” had left Bearsden for a second time. Now his story has been made into a documentary My Old School, trailer, by Jono McLeod, a former TV news reporter, who was a classmate of “Lee” in 1993.

[McLeod] says he always gets asked how he did not know that Brandon was an imposter at the time. “It is everyone’s nightmare to wake up at 30 years old and be back at school, so why would anyone choose to place themselves in that situation?” he says.

While parents of some students were alarmed that a thirty-year-old was in close proximity to teenagers, many people were certain MacKinnon’s motives were not untoward, including numerous former students and teachers. He sought only to right a perceived wrong.

While MacKinnon agreed to be interviewed for the documentary, he refused to be filmed, and instead actor Alan Cumming stands in for him. In perhaps attempting to rationalise the escapade, MacKinnon says: “the thing you have to do if you really want to prevail is do the unimaginable.”

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