BBC Launches New channel for Scotland

BBC Alba – the new Gaelic television channel – today unveiled the premiere package that will celebrate the channel’s launch on Friday 19 September at 9.00pm.

The channel will go live with a new version of the classic Runrig song Alba, specially re-recorded for the occasion by a host of Gaelic stars, including Karen Matheson from Capercaillie, Tony Kearney from River City and traditional singers Arthur Cormack and Cathy-Ann MacPhee.

Children attending the Glasgow Gaelic School will also feature in the video. The launch of the channel will be celebrated with a major outside broadcast – a live music special from the Isle of Skye featuring Mary Ann Kennedy, Julie Fowlis, Skippinish and others – and a launch party in Edinburgh.

This will be followed by an original drama, Eilbheas, set in Seventies Lewis and starring Greg Hemphill as Elvis, and a gripping drama/documentary, Peter Manuel – Deireadh an Uilc? (The End of Evil?) starring Andrew Clark. Long-standing Gaelic brands including Eòrpa, Dè a-nis?and the CBeebies Gaelic block will find a new home on BBC Alba while continuing to be broadcast on BBC Two Scotland.

Alan Esslemont, Head of Content for MG Alba, said today: “We are confident that viewers will find the package of programmes attractive and the schedule will both match the expectations of Gaels who have waited a very long time for this milestone in broadcasting and appeal to a broad audience across Scotland.”

Margaret Mary Murray, Head of Service for BBC Alba, said: “The launch of BBC Alba is a landmark for Gaelic broadcasting and the Gaelic community and it is hoped that this new channel will also be a valued addition to the Scottish audience.”

The regular faces of BBC Alba will be Fiona Mackenzie, from Lewis, who will be the daily continuity presenter, weather forecaster Kirsteen MacDonald, from Inverness, and sports reporter Evelyn Coull from Lewis.

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