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BBC ALBA launches its second decade

4 September 2018

BBC ALBA today (6 September) unveiled its programme slate for the 2018 Autumn season including an eyebrow-raising satirical sketch show, marking a bold start to the channel’s second decade.

FUNC is created by comedy genius Michael Hines, best known for ratings-busting Scottish comedy Still Game. A bubbling brew of razor-sharp satire, surreal silliness and more than a few spoonfuls of sauce, the fast-paced show features a whirlwind of new acting and writing talent – many of whom were mentored through a partnership with BBC Writer’s Room Scotland.

Producer Michael Hines said, “I’m absolutely delighted to have this opportunity to create a brand new sketch show for BBC ALBA. There aren’t many channels that would show so much trust in programme-makers – and so much commitment to up-and-coming talent. We have a wonderful young cast and some brilliant writing, and I’m extremely proud of all the hard work everyone has put in across the four episodes.

“There has been a terrific creative collaboration between BBC ALBA, the Woven Thread and the BBC Writer’s Room to find fresh and exciting new Gaelic writers, and I know – finger’s crossed – that everyone will find it as funny as we have.”

BBC ALBA’s 2018 Autumn schedule also marks the start of a seven-day news service, bringing An Là to weekends for the first time. The boost to the news service has created six new jobs in the Inverness area.

This week, BBC ALBA also announced partnerships with the Scottish FA and SWF on Scottish Women’s Football. This includes a new three-year deal securing coverage of the national squad’s competitive home games along with a significant expansion in TV coverage of domestic league games.

Shelley Kerr, head coach of the Women’s National Team said “This new partnership is fantastic for the Scottish women’s game and another step in the right direction as it continues to go from strength to strength.

“BBC ALBA have been incredibly loyal supporters of the national team as well as the club game and we are all delighted to continue this partnership for the next three years.

“Having matches shown on television and online through BBC ALBA increases exposure of the national team and with attendances on the up, I’m sure the TV audiences will also continue to increase as well.”

Iseabail Mactaggart, MG ALBA Director of Strategy and Partnership said: “As BBC ALBA enters its second decade, we are excited to be strengthening partnerships with the SFA and SWF, creating great content for BBC ALBA audiences, attracting new audiences and creating an amazing showcase for Scottish women’s football.”

Also announced today is a quadrupling of original children’s content on BBC ALBA. Further details of the extensive changes and another exciting partnership will be announced at a separate event next Thursday.

Margaret Mary Murray, Head of Gaelic Services at the BBC says, “We are delighted to be marking BBC ALBA’s 10th birthday with a fabulously rich package of programmes and digital content. Autumn 2018 will bring with it some fantastic television: laugh-out-loud comedy, a new-look children’s zone, moving and inspiring documentaries, and the latest dramatic twists and turns in Bannan. In addition to the jeopardy of the football leagues with our extensive coverage of women’s and men’s football, music continues to be at the heart of our schedule and new international co-productions such as Iùl a’ Chiùil join acclaimed series including Port. All in all BBC ALBA will be the place to be this Autumn as we bring the best television to audiences in Scotland and beyond.”

Amongst the highlights for the autumn season are:


Sgoil Lionacleit to NY (MacTV): In May 2017 Eilidh MacLeod from Barra became one of 22 victims of the Manchester Arena bombing. This April, Eilidh’s fellow musicians in the Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band embarked on a journey to New York to pay their own very personal tribute to their friend.

Trusadh: The Pakistan Islanders (MacTV): This documentary tells the remarkable story of a small Muslim community coming together to establish the Western Isles’ first mosque.

Tommy Burns (purpleTV): Ten years on from his untimely death from cancer, Tommy Burns’ daughters and sons look back on the life and career of their beloved father, the legendary player and manager of both Celtic and Kilmarnock.


Port (Bees Nees Media) Acclaimed musicians Julie Fowlis and Muireann NicAmhlaoibh head to Brittany to discover more about traditional music in the islands.

Doolin Festival (Bees Nees Media) A flavour of the Doolin Folk Festival in Ireland, an event famous for presenting powerful music in an intimate setting.

The Musical Path (MacTV): A major new series charting the shifting sands between tradition and innovation in Irish and Scottish music over the past half century.


Bannan (Young Films) Camus is still reeling from the shock of seeing two of its own taken away in handcuffs, under suspicion of murder. But how do the community react when only one returns?

Trapped (RKV Studios): Continuing its season of world drama, BBC ALBA travels to Iceland as a remote town is rocked by a gruesome crime.


Gudrun (MaraKids): Explore the wild with Gudrun the Viking Princess, an innovative format for young children combining live-action drama and the best of wildlife filmmaking.

My Life as a Courgette (Solus): After losing his mother, a young boy is sent to a foster home with other orphans his age where he begins to learn the meaning of true love in this multi-award-winning animated feature.