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BBC ALBA secures £5m of new content

26 March 2018

BBC ALBA secures £5m of ground-breaking new content through international co-productions

• More original content for channel secured through international co-productions
• Additional content valued at £5m
• Deals predicted to deliver additional high-quality programming otherwise not possible
• BBC ALBA suppliers playing key role in creating international content partnerships

MG ALBA today (26 April 2018) reveals it is successfully securing additional content for BBC ALBA through innovative international deals led by its suppliers.

A series of agreements are creating £5.2m worth of high-quality programmes for Scotland’s Gaelic-language television channel.

The injection of new content is the result of several years’ focused effort by MG ALBA and its supplier companies in developing global partnerships based on long-term deals with the broadcaster. The deals see the channel’s suppliers teaming up with production companies in Germany, Denmark, Iceland, France, Norway and Canada, as well as Ireland and Wales and, for the first time, the possibility of a Chinese partnership in 2019.

For BBC ALBA viewers, the deals mean new content that otherwise would have been unaffordable. For BBC ALBA’s innovative producers, it means growing international networks and the possibilities of further business in these territories, as well as their own domestic market.

Iseabail Mactaggart, MG ALBA’s Director of Strategy and Partnership, said:

“This is a significant announcement. For our audiences it marks a very substantial investment in BBC ALBA programming, which is great news. It demonstrates that not only can funding in Gaelic broadcasting leverage growth in the volume of content for the channel but can also be used to drive the growth of our suppliers, including through international partnerships. We are proud to work closely with our suppliers in this innovative approach to ensuring new content for BBC ALBA, and proud that Gaelic broadcasting is leading the way in creating these powerful global partnerships.”

Some of the programmes due for broadcast in 2018/19 include The Far Traveller, an hour-long documentary charting the story of a remarkable and pioneering female Viking explorer from 1000AD, produced by Icelandic filmmakers ProFilm and MacTV in partnership with RUV, Icelandic Film fund, Profilm and Pegasus.

Bridge over the Atlantic is a Canadian Scottish co-production featuring musicians from both sides of the Atlantic exploring their common musical heritage. It is produced by MacTV and Skye Larke Productions in partnership with CBC Atlantic, BBC Scotland and support from the Nova Scotia Dept of Communities, Culture & Heritage, the Government of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Federation of Musicians.

The deals also include a further series of Port – the channel’s hugely successful and eclectic music programme, which will take the brand on the road in Europe showcasing collaboration with artists in Brittany, Asturias and Galicia. Port is produced by Bees Nees Media in partnership with TG4.

Tide is an ambitious series depicting the stories and science behind that most mysterious of power sources on earth – the tide – and looks at the subject from a global and national perspective. Produced by Cwmni Da and MacTV, the series is supported by S4C, BBC NI, TG4 with investment from LIC and Sky Vision.

Another dimension of the international approach is participation in multi-European partner deals such as Kids of Courage, a second series of children’s drama-documentaries from Germany-based LOOKS Film & TV, based on diaries and letters from WW2. Building on the first series, Small Hands in a Big War, series two will offer an insight into children’s lives across Europe as they try to survive the calamitous fallout of the conflict. The UK story in the series is Calum’s Story, featuring a Gaelic-speaking teenager coming of age in Scotland’s war-torn Clydebank.

MG ALBA Channel Editor, Margaret Cameron, adds:

“These deals allow us to offer the BBC ALBA audience additional high-end content that would have been outwith our capacity if operating alone. They are delivering a rich range of programming across musical, factual and drama genres which will really add value and sparkle to the BBC ALBA schedule while offering our artists and producers opportunities to tell their stories on an international stage.”