Festive feast of programmes on BBC ALBA

For Loganair pilot Mairi Nicholson, Barra beach is the best runway.
For Loganair pilot Mairi Nicholson, Barra beach is the best runway.

FAMILY favourites and entertainment for all ages are what’s on offer this Christmas and New Year from BBC ALBA.

Margaret Mary Murray, Head of Service, said: “We are looking forward to bringing viewers a fantastic mix of festive programming for all the family.

“Our Christmas and New Year schedule has proved to be hugely popular in recent years and we are sure that this year will be no exception.

“The line-up provides an eclectic mix of entertainment, music and documentaries coupled with some wonderful children’s programmes and fantastic live sport for armchair fans to enjoy.”

Among the Christmas Day highlights is The Band from Rockall, the story of Runrig’s Calum and Rory MacDonald as they record their first solo album outside of the band; and Rockettes, a programme following the engaging dancers of the cheerleading Scottish Pro-Dance group The Rockettes as they train, audition and perform their way through a season.

Throughout the festive season there are also appearances from a host of musical legends, with concerts including The Proclaimers at HebCelt 2012, a look at Daniel O’Donnell’s 30 years in showbiz and a special documentary profile of the acclaimed actress and singer Barbara Dickson.

The very best sports action will be complemented by ‘as live’ action from festive matches, including Celtic v Ross County, Kilmarnock v Hearts, and Hibernian v Celtic.

The oval ball will also be prominent on the channel, with the 1872 Cup rugby fixtures between Glasgow and Edinburgh in the PRO12, live on the weekends either side of Christmas.

Documentaries explore not only the campaign against the tolls on the Skye Bridge, but also ‘Island Flying’ which looks at one of the world’s most unique air service – Loganair – as it celebrates 50 years in the business.

Kirkwall based pilot Stuart Linklater’s daily flights are only minutes long; and pilot Mairi Nicholson’s favourite runway is the fine shell-sand at Barra, while baggage handler Shonnie Mackay can expect anything at Benbecula Airport where no two days are the same.

Programmes marking the arrival of both Christmas day and New Year will be particular highlights, with a Christmas Eve service broadcast at 11pm from St Mary and St Finnan Church, Glenfinnan in Lochaber.

Youngsters from Lochaber Music School, Feis Loch Abar and Mallaig High School Choir and the Kilmallie Singers will join the likes of Iain MacFarlane, Ingrid Henderson, Margaret Ford and Robert Robertson and local congregations for this ecumenical celebration.

And viewers will also be able to see the New Year 2013 in style with BBC ALBA’s live Hogmanay Ceilidh from Achnagairn House, Kirkhill, by Beauly.

Presenters Derek ‘Pluto’ Murray and Kirsteen MacDonald will be joined by a host of musical talent including Manran, Duncan Chisholm, Hamish Napier, Kathleen MacInnes, Rona Lightfoot and Dingwall Gaelic Choir.

“As always, our live Christmas Eve services and Hogmanay Ceilidh will be particularly special during this period and we hope the warmth and enjoyment of both these occasions will radiate to viewers at home and make them feel part of BBC ALBA’s festive offering this Christmas,” added Margaret Mary Murray.