BBC ALBA unveiled its schedule for new programmes for its autumn season this week.
Four years on since the launch of the channel, BBC ALBA has cemented its position within Scottish broadcasting, with a range of high quality home produced programmes appealing to audiences across the county.
Maggie Cunningham, chair of MG ALBA which operates the channel in partnership with the BBC, set out her vision and strategy for the next four years development of the channel, which now attracts around 500,000 viewers each week.
She said: “We will need to invest to create the programming our viewers want to see but it is not a question of holding out a begging bowl and simply asking for further funding.
“We must engage with all the partners we work with the explore ways in which the channel offering can be enhance.”
Ms Cunningham continued: “This new autumn season offers some excellent programmes. The hard work of everyone at the channel and in Scottish production companies has allowed BBC ALBA to get to the position it occupies today.
“The challenge now is to continue this development and we will all strive to ensure the next four years builds upon this strong platform.”
Some of the highlights in BBC ALBA’s new autumn schedule include ‘Lorgan Linda: Linda’s Story’; a moving account of the changed world of John and Lorna Norgrove, who were thrust into the public spotlight following the tragic death of their daughter Linda, an aid worker who died during a failed US rescue attempt in October 2010 after being kidnapped by Afghan rebels.
The programme moves from the recollections of John and Lorna’s darkest hours to their mission to set up the Linda Norgrove Foundation, continuing humanitarian projects in Linda’s name which culminated in their journey to Afghanistan, accompanied by BBC ALBA cameras, in March this year.
‘Sar Sgeoil’ sees presented Cathy MacDonald set off to explore four areas of Scotland marked in Classical Fiction.
Throwing away the guidebook, Cathy examines how the authors of ‘Kidnapped’, ‘The Silver Darlings’, ‘Sunset Song’ and ‘The Thirty Nine Steps’, were influenced by the Scottish landscape, and how successfully they portrayed the landscape and culture that inspired their heroes and heroines.
Cathy also piles on the glitz and glamour as she takes audiences into the lives of some of the big names in showbiz with a new series of ‘Cuide ri Cathy’.
This season she invites you to join her as she spends a day with the likes of David Gest, Ross King, Carol McGiffen, Keith Duffy, Gregor Fisher, Katie Melua, Russell Watson and Michelle Collins, and offers viewers the chance to see famous folks’ lives behind the camera as they open their homes, their workplaces and their hearts.
Some more highlights offers are ‘Turas Tony’, where, having tried his hand in series one at jobs as varied as running a hotel and trawler fishing, actor and presenter Tony Kearney – formerly from BBC’s ‘River City’ – continues his search for a new profession.
The new series sees Tony donning his hard hat and reaching for the power tools as he finds out what it takes to be a builder amongst others.
And ‘Sgeulachd Oscar Slater/An Innocent Man’ focuses on the tale of Glasgow man Oscar Slater, wrongly convicted of a murder at the turn of the 20th century, and who served an 18 year prison sentence as a result.
Continuing its stand of compelling true crime documentaries, here BBC ALBA examines the unsolved case that is widely thought to be the worst miscarriage of justice in Scottish legal history.
For music-lovers, the autumn schedule brings new show ‘Buskers’, taking a look at possibly the toughest stage of all on which to learn your musical trade – on your own, on the streets!
There will also be live coverage of the Na Trad awards ceremony, performances from The Royal National Mod 2012 and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, plus a new series of ‘Ceol Country’ and Blas.
Children will be kept entertained with a new series of ‘De a-nis?’ hitting the screens; and turning to sport, BBC ALBA’s continued one ‘as-live’ SPL game every Saturday will be joined by live coverage of selected Glasgow and Edinburgh RaboDirect PRO12 rugby matches; exclusive live action from the SFL Ramsdens Challenge Cup; along with live action from Scotland’s women’s international team as they embark on the road to UEFA Women’s EURO 2013.