BBC ALBA flagship drama has audience hooked

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BBC ALBA’s new drama series Bannan has proved to be a major attraction for the channel’s Gaelic speaking audience.

Bannan topped the third quarter of the 2014 viewing table, with the exceptionally high viewing figure of 62 per cent of the Gaelic audience for episode one; the most popular series since the Channel launched on Freeview in 2011.

Produced by Christopher Young (Young Films), whose film credits include Gregory’s Two Girls and The Inbetweeners Movie, and directed by Gaelic speaking actor, Tony Kearney, Bannan is the first drama series commissioned by the BBC ALBA and has been a cause of much excitement and interest since filming was announced.

Alan Esslemont, Head of Content at MG ALBA, said: “We are thrilled at how well Bannan has been received by viewers although not surprised!

“It’s very compelling telly; the characters are intriguing and the series depiction of a 21st century rural Scottish community is so accurate. There are also many scenes featuring breath-taking backdrops of Skye’s impressive mountains and shorelines.

“It’s a series which has received positive feedback from both our Gaelic and English speaking audiences but its make-up is inherently Gaelic. Young Films and Tony Kearney were determined that the entire production of Bannan would be carried out through the medium of Gaelic.”

The series follows the story of Màiri MacDonald’s return home to the island which she left eight years previously, having turned her back on her family and the community, its claustrophobia and its customs.

“She initially returns for the funeral of a family friend but the emotional ties (‘bannan’) see her remain on the island longer than anticipated. Màiri’s journey reawakens the unresolved conflicts that are rooted in her memory of home: love and hate, past and present, constriction and freedom.

“The one person with whom she must renew her ‘bannan’ is the only person she wants to remain firmly in her past.

BBC ALBA ended another successful year with a packed schedule of new programmes ranging from entertainment shows to documentaries, live sport and traditional music to children’s programmes.

In the year ahead the channel will continue to build on its success with audiences across Scotland and develop its range of original programming for its core Gaelic speaking audience throughout 2015.