Thursday, 8 September 2011


BBC ALBA unveiled its schedule of new programmes for its autumn season today (Thursday 8 September) at a launch event held in Eden Court Theatre, Inverness.

Three years on, the channel has continued to provide an excellent range of high quality home produced programmes appealing to audiences across Scotland with productions from many genres including observational documentaries, news and current affairs, entertainment and lifestyle, religion, children’s programming, music and sport.

Leading figures from the channel partnership and programme producers were present alongside a host of new stars who will grace our screens this autumn on BBC ALBA. In attendance were contributors to the new Midwives series filmed at Raigmore Hospital, alongside some furry friends to showcase a new series following the varied lives of vets in the Highlands & Islands and throughout Scotland.

BBC ALBA is proud to be making a positive contribution to Scottish broadcasting and supporting the county’s creative and media sectors, working with 16 independent production companies and both Scottish broadcasters, STV and the BBC on programme content. Earlier this year the channel also achieved a major milestone when the BBC Trust approved its carriage on Freeview thus enabling every household in Scotland to access the wide variety of programmes available on BBC ALBA.

Some highlights from BBC ALBA’s new autumn schedule include:

· Midwives/Mnathan-glùine: a moving observational documentary series charting new beginnings and changed lives at the Highland maternity unit in Raigmore Hospital. With special access to staff and the mums-to-be, this series offers insights into the highs and lows of life in a busy maternity unit.

· Vets/Gach Creutair Beò: this new series takes viewers on a journey from the Western Isles to Aberdeen and from Wick to the safari parks of Blair Drummond near Stirling and the Highland Wildlife Park, following a number of vets at work, tending to a wide range of animals from cattle during calving season, operating on horses, examining elephants and taking blood samples from chimpanzees.

· Turas Tony - actor Tony Kearney swaps the comfort of a television studio to try his hand at four varied and challenging professions. Has Tony got what it takes to be a Hotel Manager in Tiree during the busy Tiree Wave Classic surfing competition, a chef at one of Glasgow’s top restaurants, a Trawlerman in the North Atlantic Sea and a member of the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team?

· Children’s – Teenage Breab is back in the company of six talented Gaelic speakers from across Scotland as they spend two action packed weeks together; popular children’s favourite De a-nis? continues, as well as a new bespoke animation series Sgeulaiche, featuring stories written by children, for children.

· Music – Live music festivals and events recorded across Scotland are at the core of BBC ALBA’s music offering with traditional, Celtic, country and the best of indie music all featured; new programmes include Blas 2011, The Royal National Mod 2011, Ceòl Country – country music and Horo Gheallaidh – Celtic sessions and Piping Live.

· Sport – coverage continues with one ‘as-live’ SPL game every Saturday; live coverage of select Glasgow and Edinburgh RaboDirect PRO12 rugby matches; the annual International shinty/hurling test between Ireland and Scotland, as well as coverage of the 2011 World Island Games.

Margaret Mary Murray, Head of Service for BBC ALBA, said: “We are delighted to be launching such a strong and varied new autumn season of programmes ranging from emotional documentaries to light-hearted entertainment and lifestyle strands to professional sport and live musical performances. Audiences across Scotland have been drawn to BBC ALBA’s schedule of programmes supplied by some of the finest independent and broadcast production companies in the country.”

Alasdair Morrison, Chairman of MG ALBA said: “Achieving greater viewer access for all in Scotland was a tremendous achievement for the channel this year and we have been delighted at the response from the UK-wide public for our distinct home-grown productions and unique Scottish content. We very much look forward to the new autumn season as the channel goes from strength to strength offering a premier package for our loyal viewers as well as those who have embraced the channel since its launch on Freeview.”

BBC ALBA is delivered through the partnership set up between the BBC and MG ALBA, the Gaelic Media Service, a unique broadcasting partnership providing a successful public service.