A flagship Gaelic drama filmed on the Isle of Skye is to be exported to international audiences through a new distribution deal.
Bannan is screened on BBC ALBA and the new set of episodes start tonight on the channel.
The series is also now poised for broadcast internationally, having been signed up by DRG, one of the leading independent distributors of programmes in the world.
The news about Bannan’s international distribution comes as BBC ALBA channel partner, MG ALBA, set out the economic impact of Gaelic broadcasting at the Scottish Parliament.
Donald Campbell, Chief Executive of MG ALBA said: “The story of Bannan is part of the growth of BBC ALBA and the new distribution agreement is another landmark step in the development of the channel.
“It was important that BBC ALBA could embrace the drama genre in order to serve our Gaelic audience yet, the drama – and the channel – also needed to ensure that we could make an important contribution to the creative sector in Scotland.”
Figures to be published shortly by consultants Olsberg SPI demonstrate the economic impact of MG ALBA’s investments, particularly in the Western Isles and Skye. The international consultants found that the “114.4 FTE jobs created directly or supported by MG ALBA are equivalent to just under 11,000 in the Central Belt”. There were similar effects in additional economic value, as measured by GVA, and in equivalent value in wages generated.
Donald Campbell continued: “These figures demonstrate the enormous economic impact of investment in Gaelic broadcasting, and the stimulus such investment can generate for growth in Scotland’s creative industries.”
Young Films’ new agreement will also cover further programmes and material produced by Young Films, the independent production company formed and headed by producer of The Inbetweeners, Chris Young.
Chris Young, producer of Bannan, said: “When we first embarked on producing Bannan, we were clear that the drama should be appealing not only to a Gaelic and Scottish audience but to have strong storylines that would resonate across borders.
“We knew that the production talent existed within Scotland to make such a drama, and the wonderful location of Skye is unrivalled – all that was needed was the platform and resources to make it a reality.”
BBC ALBA is operated as a partnership agreement between the BBC and MG ALBA.
MG ALBA is pressing the BBC to make an increased commitment to the channel in order to increase the amount of original programming and reduce the number of repeats.
Donald Campbell added: “We are ambitious for Gaelic and for BBC ALBA – our ambition for the channel includes increased BBC commitment as part of a consistent, supportive policy by the BBC towards its minority language services. Following the provisions in the Charter and Framework Agreement published last week, we will be working with the BBC in the months ahead and making every attempt to secure increased BBC commitment for the channel.”