BBC Alba launches on Freeview tonight

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Every household in Scotland can watch BBC ALBA today (Wednesday 8 June) as it launches on the Freeview platform from 5pm this evening.

BBC ALBA going live on Freeview channel 8 today, greatly increases accessibility for all viewers across Scotland.

The channel was also recently made available on Virgin Media’s Cable channel 188.

Alasdair Morrison, Chairman of MG ALBA, said: “MG ALBA along with our partners at the BBC have worked tirelessly towards this day and it is fantastic that the channel will be on Freeview as of today. We have been grateful for the support from the BBC Trust as well as that received from politicians in Holyrood and Westminster.

“We should be immensely proud of the creative talent that Scotland has to offer and are delighted that through BBC ALBA we are able to nurture new talent and encourage a raft of innovative ideas for Gaelic production. We look forward to bringing both Gaelic and non-Gaelic viewers an exciting package of programming that we are greatly proud of and are delighted that it can now be enjoyed by everyone throughout Scotland.”

Margo MacDonald MSP will tonight (Wednesday 8 June) host a parliamentary reception in support of BBC ALBA welcoming its launch on Freeview. Margo said: “This development should do more to persuade non-Gaelic- speaking Scots of the worth of the language and culture of the Gàidhealtachd than any previous attempt to promote understanding and appreciation of Gaelic’s rich heritage. Gaelic may be an old language but its contribution to contemporary culture will be greatly enhanced by its use of new technologies.”

Alasdair Allan MSP said: “This is a very important step forward for BBC ALBA and I am very pleased that the channel will now have access to Freeview. Many people have campaigned to make this happen for a long time and the Scottish Government has backed the plan from the start.

“BBC ALBA has made an important contribution to broadcasting in Scotland and has also strengthened the profile and use of Gaelic. The whole of Scotland should now have access to BBC ALBA’s programmes and this will help support a fresh generation of Gaelic speakers and enrich our cultural life.”

Celebrities and personalities associated with the channel including actor and film-maker Peter Mullan got behind the channel’s Freeview launch by endorsing the ‘Open Your Eyes’ to BBC ALBA campaign. Peter Mullan said: “The channel has been a great boost for the creative sector in Scotland and long may it continue.”

BBC ALBA has made a positive contribution to Scottish broadcasting and the country’s creative industries with around half of all programme hours produced in Scotland by independent producers being commissioned for BBC ALBA. The channel’s programmes are produced by a range of independent production companies as well as from the BBC and STV.

The channel also plays a key role in promoting the Gaelic language as well as supporting language learning through broadcasting programmes for learners and those interested in Gaelic language and culture. In addition, MG ALBA and the BBC, together with Bòrd na Gàidhlig and other partners, are developing new online resources for Gaelic learners, along with funding from the Scottish Government. The new learners’ website is due to launch in October this year.

Western Isles MP Angus Macneil said: “This is an historic step in the short history of BBC Alba, and one that will be welcomed by many people. Since the launch of the channel nearly three years ago, the viewing figures have proved its success, and now by having it available on freeview many more people will get the opportunity to see the channel.

“This has only happened through the intense lobbying and hard work of many people, and it is now pleasing to see the channel being available on freeview as from 5pm tonight.”