BBC ALBA unveils new programmes

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BBC ALBA unveiled its autumn package of programmes at a launch event held at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Documentaries, music, sport, World War I recollections, children’s programmes and comedy from some of Scotland’s finest production companies all feature in the new schedule.

Michael Hines and Sanjeev Kohli - two of the figures behind new BBC ALBA comedy Gaol@Gael - took time out of final preparations for the Still Game stage show to speak at the launch.

Following on from the award winning Dà Là san Dàmhair / Two Days in October, Gaol@Gael is a three part comedy starring acclaimed singer and actress Kathleen MacInnes as ‘Muriel Scott’ who sets up a dating website for Gaels.

Sanjeev – best known for his role as the nation’s favourite shopkeeper, Navid, in Still Game – plays Dr Sandeep, a locum doctor who has moved to Harris but has a lifelong principle not to date patients, which is a slight issue as all the women on the island want to see him in his surgery.

We get to know Dr Sandeep and his various quirks, which include wearing a fake wedding ring to deter particularly keen admirers.

He also doesn’t like the outdoors and countryside, which means Harris may not be his ideal location.

For the first time, original drama commissioned exclusively for BBC ALBA featured in the autumn schedule with Bannan set to air later this month.

The series tells the story of Màiri MacDonald’s return home to the island which she deserted eight years ago leaving her family and the place and its customs. She initially returns for the funeral of a family friend but the emotional ties (‘bannan’) see her remain on the island.

Bannan producer Chris Young, recognised for his work on the hit comedy series The Inbetweeners, spoke about the first three episodes to be screened this autumn and his future plans for the programme with filming underway once again of the Isle of Skye.

Chris was joined by Donald Shaw, the renowned musician and one of the founding members of the group Capercaillie, and he discussed his work creating the perfect soundtrack for Bannan in his role as musical director for the drama.

Debbie Mackay, who plays lead character Mairi Macdonald, was also in attendance alongside one of her co-stars, Dòl Eoin Mackinnon.

Documentaries are also once again at the core of the autumn schedule, with Cobhair Chloinne, a programme profiling the doctors and nursing staff of the Scottish Paediatric Retrieval Service, highlighted at today’s event.

Dr Mark Davidson, one of the doctors that helps to transport sick children from all over Scotland to specialist care in Glasgow or Edinburgh, spoke at the event alongside Emma Olver, who is part of the production team behind the series.