Programme Archive Tasglann Phrògraman

An Drochaid / The Bridge Rising

BBC ALBA – Tuesday 1st January 2013 at 8.05pm

An Drochaid

BBC ALBA – Dimàirt 1 Faoilleach 2013 aig 8.05f

Skye Bridge

The epic, feel-good story of a modern rebellion. In their campaign against the tolls on the Skye bridge, plucky Scottish islanders took on the might of the government and the Bank of America – and won.

A funny, bittersweet tale of passion, ego, and multi-million financial deals, told through the first-hand testimony of some of those who took part.

The Skye Bridge was the UK’s first Private Finance Initiative, making an estimated £33m for the Bank of America.

In January 2004, the tollbooths on the Skye Bridge were removed - after ten years of protest, hundreds of arrests, and one of the longest-running uprisings in modern Scottish history. You no longer have to pay to go over the Bridge, but do you know why?

“The Bridge Rising” is packed with humour, twists and surprises. Telling the inside story for the first time, this film takes you behind closed doors at the main turning-points of the Skye Bridge story. Many of the key players tell their tale, from protesters to politicians, toll-collector to engineer, civil servant to police.

Revelations include:

• Skye police sergeant Dennis Hyndman - who arrested his neighbours when they refused to pay the tolls on the Bridge emerges as a secret supporter of the anti-toll campaign. “If I hadn't been a police officer I would have been down there protesting along with the rest of them”.

• John Carson, the engineer behind the design and building of the bridge, reveals for the first time his own role in putting together the deal with the Bank of America for the private finance of the bridge. “The protestors were a bunch of badly informed opportunists” says John Carson. “There was not a conspiracy. If there was, then you are looking at the master conspirator.”

• Former Labour Minister Brian Wilson also comments on some of the campaign ringleaders. “The attempts of a few individuals to portray themselves as folk heroes are not taken seriously by anybody. The egos were the size of the Cuillins, and I think the inevitability of them falling out was pretty strong.”

• And indeed the protest campaign did split. The two factions were led by Robbie the Pict and Andy Anderson. The passing years have not softened the clash between them. Robbie on Andy: “He might've been useful as cannon fodder”. Andy on Robbie: “I couldn't think of one campaign where Robbie had been involved which had been successful. I said to him, you say you're a good plumber, and you've mended all the taps in all the houses in this row. But they're all leaking. After that he wouldn't talk to me.”

• Former MSP John Farquhar Munro says the Scottish Office civil servants who negotiated the PFI deal “didn’t have a clue about the amount of money the Bank of America were taking from the area, and the massive profits they were going to make out of this scheme.” John Farquhar Munro reveals his own brinkmanship in the Lab/Lib coalition that ended the toll regime in 2004. “I decided I would be willing to leave the party if they didn’t take the tolls off the bridge. The other members weren’t very happy with me. They’ve taken me off their Christmas card list.”

• The film captures the campaigners’ sense of fun and mischief during the campaign. Drew Miller describes the atmosphere on first day he went to court for refusing to pay the toll: “It was like going to the Shinty cup final, or your first pantomime.”

• David Hingston, Procurator Fiscal who dealt with the prosecutions against protesters, says: “Their stated intention was to bring Dingwall Sheriff Court to its knees. It started as a flood and became an avalanche. That left me holding the baby, with the bathwater running out very rapidly.” Hingston confesses how the pressure contributed to his own nervous breakdown. He drops a bombshell, his own personal sympathy for the campaign, that couldn’t be revealed at the time: “PFI, in my personal opinion, is a fraud upon the public”

“The Bridge Rising” is an ambitious film, directed and produced by award winning film-makers Robbie Fraser and Louise Scott. It is a media co-op international co-production with Canada, supported by MG ALBA and Creative Scotland, with a feature-length cinema version due in the Spring, and plans for an accompanying CD which will feature some of the music specially composed for the feature-length film soundtrack.

Sgeulachd mhòr, mhisneachail, mu reubaltachd anns an nòs ùr. Anns an iomairt aca an aghaidh cìsean drochaid an Eilein Sgitheanaich, sheas Eileanaich stàirneil an aghaidh neart an Riaghaltais agus Banca Ameireagaidh – agus bhuannaich iad. Sgeulachd èibhinn, aotram, a’ sealltainn an ùidh, a’ mhòrchuis agus na cùmhnantan ionmhasail nan iomadh-mhilleanan, mar a thachair tron fheadhainn a bha an sàs.

B’ e Drochaid an Eilein Sgìtheanaich a’ chiad ‘Iomairt Ionmhais Phrìobhaideach’ ann am Breatainn, a’ gabhail a-steach £33m airson Banca Ameireagaidh. Anns Am Faoilleach 2004, chaidh bothain nan cìs air Drochaid an Eilein Sgìtheanaich an togail às – an dèidh deich bliadhna de dh’iomairt, ceudan de chasaidean, agus aon de na h-aimhreitean as fhaide a mhair ann an ùr eachdraidh na h-Alba. Chan eil agad ri phàigheadh airson a dhol thairis na Drochaid latha an-diugh, ach a bheil fios agaibh carson? Tha “An Drochaid” làn dibhearsain, caran agus iongantas. Ag innse taobh a-staigh na sgeulachd airson a’ chiad turas, tha am film seo gad thoirt air cùl dorsan dùinte aig na prìomh caran ann an sgeulachd na Drochaid. Tha mòran de na prìomh charactaran ag innse an sgeulachd aca, luchd-iomairt agus luchd-poilitigs, cruinniche-chìsean agus innleadair, seirbheiseach-stàite agus poileas uile nam measg..

A’ tighinn am follais:

• Tha Àrd phoileas an Eilein Sgìtheanaich Dennis Hyndman – a chuir na nàbaidhean aige an grèim nuair a dhiùlt iad na cìsean a phàigheadh air an Drochaid, a’ tighinn am follais mar neach-taic dìomhair anns an iomairt an aghaidh na cìsean.

• Tha John Carson, an Innleadair air cùl dealbhachadh agus togail na Drochaid, a’ foillseachadh airson a’ chiad uair an dreuchd a bh’ aige fhèin ann a bhith a’ stèidheachadh a’ chùmhnant leis a’ Bhanca Ameireagaidh airson ionmhais phrìobhaideach na drochaid.

• Tha an t-seann Mhinistear Làbarach Brian Wilson cuideachd a’ beachdachadh air cuid de na prìomh charactaran anns an iomairt.

Agus gu dearbha fhèin bha sgaradh anns an iomairt. Bha an dà bhuidheann air an stiùireadh le Robbie am Pict agus Andy Anderson. Tha an sgread a bha eatorra aig an àm sin, an-diugh cho làidir ’s a bha e riamh.

• Tha an t-seann MSP Iain Fearchar Rothach a’ bruidhinn mu na seirbheisich-stàite ann an Oifis na h-Alba a bha a’ cò-rèiteachadh an aonta airson an Iomairt Ionmhais Phrìobhaideach. Tha e ag innse mun chò-rèiteachadh aige fhèin anns a’ cho-bhann Làbarach/ Libearalach a chuir casg air co-rian nan cìsean ann an 2004.

Tha am film a’ glacadh am fealla-dhà agus an dibhearsain a bha aig an luchd-iomairt fhad ’s a bha iad a’ strì. Tha Drew Miller a’ toirt cunntas air a’ chiad latha a chaidh e dhan chùirt airson a bhith a’ diùltadh na cìsean.

‘S e film àrd-aigneach a tha anns “An Drochaid”, air a stiùireadh agus a riochdachadh le Robbie Fraser agus Louise Scott, a tha air iomadh dhuais a bhuannachadh eatorra ann an gnìomhachas nam film. ‘S e co-riochdachadh eadar-nàiseanta a tha ann, le taic bho MG ALBA agus Alba Chruthachail, a’ sùileachadh gum bi dreach eile airson an taigh-dhealbh deiseil as t-Earrach, agus gum bi CD ann cuideachd a bheireas àrd-ùrlar don cheòl a tha gu bhith sgrìobhte fa leth airson an dreach seo den film.

The Bridge Rising (An Drochaid) Dimàirt 1 Am Faoilleach 2013 aig 8.05f air BBC ALBA

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