LAST summer, I was offered the chance to present a documentary. Cliché to say this but it really was a dream come true. I wish I could go back in time and tell my 13-year-old self that this what I’d be doing in a few years as I was obsessed with documentaries as a wee guy.

It’s called Noteworthy and it’s all about the people who are on Scottish banknotes and their stories. When I was told the premise I thought to myself, ‘This’ll be a canter. I know all about Rabbie Burns, Walter Scott, Robert the Bruce and all that.’ Then the producer said we wouldn’t be bothering with them as everyone knows their stories and we’d instead be focusing on the likes of Mary Slessor, Elsie Inglis and Mary Somerville. I didn’t know who any of these women were. When I told my pals and my family about them, neither did they.

I worked on the tills in a shop for years and never once did it cross my mind to look into who the people on the money were. I do remember looking at Lord Islay on the notes when I was younger and thinking he was the Queen.

I started looking more closely at notes I had in my wallet. Studying them at the bar before them over in exchange for pints. I started to feel a bit guilty at the fact I knew all about the men on the money, having had their stories drummed into me at school, but little to nothing about the women.

I’m sure most you reading this will be at least a wee bit familiar with Mary Somerville, more so than I was anyway. A Scottish science writer and polymath. She studied mathematics and astronomy, and was nominated to be jointly the first female member of the Royal Astronomical Society at the same time as Caroline Herschel.

Do you know who Mary Slessor is? Featured on a 1997 £10 note from the Clydesdale Bank. Born to a poor working class family in the 19th century. Living in the slums of Dundee, her father and both brothers died of pneumonia. At 14, she was working 12-hour days to help support her mother and her sisters.

Her mother was a devout Presbyterian and eventually Mary applied to the United Presbyterian Church’s Foreign Mission Board and was sent to work as a missionary in Calabar, Nigeria. She lived with the people there, ate the local food, learned their language and saved the lives of hundreds of weans. In Nigeria, there’s roads named after her, schools, churches, even a roundabout! I didn’t learn about her in school.

What about Elsie Inglis? Suffragist, doctor and founder of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. During the First World War, Inglis approached the Royal Army Medical Corps to offer them a ready-made medical unit staffed by qualified women. Know what the War Office told her? “Go home and sit still.” Quite rightly raging about this, she instead went to Serbia and helped them. To this day in Serbia she’s known as Our Mother from Scotland. I didn’t learn about her in school.

I also had the chance to look at some people from recent Scottish history who I think certainly are noteworthy.

I spent the day with Rose Reilly, the only Scottish footballer to have won the World Cup. A lack of investment and infrastructure in the women’s game here led her to ply her trade instead in France and Italy for the likes of Reims, Catania, Lecce and AC Milan.

She ran riot in Italy, scored goals for fun, and was eventually called up for their national team, going on to win the World Cup.

I think it’s quite rotten that as a fitbaw-daft wee guy, I was never told about the lassie from Kilmarnock that won the World Cup. I think there’s definitely a case to be made for Rose being on a Scottish banknote especially when you consider that, and no disrespect to the big man here, Jack Nicklaus found himself on a fiver.

There’s a few other famous faces I meet through the documentary but I’ll leave that as a wee surprise if you watch it.

The whole thing got me thinking about what we learn at school about Scottish history and how we barely even scratch the surface when it comes to learning about the people who’ve shaped not only our country, but contributed to science, medicine, technology and the arts around the world.

Imagine the generations we could inspire to go on to great things if we taught them about our country’s other heroes? It’s no just the warriors, the arty-farty writers and the noblemen that are noteworthy, there’s thousands more stories about everyday people in Scotland who deserve to have their faces and stories immortalised.