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BBC ALBA sparks creativity with new DIY competition series

30 April 2024

Meet the contestants of Dùbhlain DIY (Instructions Not Included)

Get ready for an electrifying DIY showdown this spring as amateur Scottish duos go head-to-head in a brand new TV challenge series, Dùbhlain DIY (Instructions Not Included).

Airing each Monday at 8.30pm from 6 May, the five-part BBC ALBA original series will follow six pairs – made up of married couples, family members and friends – as they compete for a £2,000 cash prize and the ‘Dùbhlain DIY champions’ title.

Inspiring the nation to ‘do it yourself’ in the name of sustainability, the innovative format will see rookie pairs battle it out in a series of home renovation tasks – with a twist. Without any instructions, demonstrations or even guidelines to follow, the couples will need to bring their differing strengths and creative talents to the competition to see who measures up.

Some may shine while others fall flat as they face a variety of themed challenges, but everything is to play for with one couple being eliminated each week, putting their skills – and relationships – to the test.

Hailing from across Scotland, the Dùbhlain DIY (Instructions Not Included) contestants include:

  • Isle of Lewis and BBC Radio Nan Gàidheal pals, actor Marisa MacDonald and An Lot crofter Donald “Sweeny” MacSween;
  • Hebridean siblings, solicitor Isabel Macleod (from Carloway, now based in Stornoway) and Royal National Mòd ‘Traditional’ gold medallist, Tormod Macleod (from Carloway);
  • Lewis-based spouses, wife and mum-of-four Marie Duke (originally from Skye) and her film editor husband Paul (originally from Newtonmore);
  • Glasgow-based friends, singer Josie Duncan (from Laxdale) and artist and content creator Choirstaidh Iona McArthur (from Greenock);
  • Retired twin sisters from the Isle of Lewis, Donna Barden and Mina Nicolson; and
  • South Uist cousins studying in Glasgow, Alasdair Campbell and Calum MacMillan (raised in Bornais)

From basic flat pack furniture to their own creations made out of recycled materials, their imagination will be allowed to run riot, before being tempered by materials, time constraints and often, their own abilities.

Dùbhlain DIY competitor, Tormod Macleod said: “I do occasionally try my hand at DIY. I have built flatpacks like everyone else and have built a couple of basic raised beds for my garden. I do try to fix things when needed as well but I’m certainly not a professional.”

Hoping to learn a few things along the way, his solicitor sister Isabel Macleod added: “I learnt a lot from my dad – he was a fisherman, joiner and builder and could turn his hand to anything. I would often spend time helping him make and repair things but wish I’d learnt more! I always attempt to fix things around the house as I don’t like how wasteful society is. Not sure if I’m very good at some tasks but it’s always worth a try!”

Hosted by TV and radio presenter Derek “Pluto” Murray, alongside main judge musician Iain “Spanish” MacKay – a skilled joiner by trade – the Gaelic duo ensure there will be plenty of laughs along the way. Enlisting the help of an expert guest judge each week, viewers can join in with the excitement and exasperation as the couples vie for the title, with a display of improvisation at its best.

Presenter Derek “Pluto” Murray said: “Get ready for the ultimate test of creativity, ingenuity, and skill with our new DIY competition, pitching challenges with the twist of “instructions not included” – as if flat pack furniture building wasn’t stressful enough! Although the competitors lack in instructions, they excel in enthusiasm and craic.”

Judge Iain “Spanish” MacKay added: “It’s a celebration of the country’s DIY culture – whether an amateur enthusiast or someone who has had to pick up a hammer out of necessity, Dùbhlain DIY will give the viewers something they can relate to, even if it’s just seeing the sheer frustration of attempting even the most basic of DIY tasks. While offering feel-good escapism, we hope it’ll inspire those at home to get out there and start a new project of their own.”

But which couple can prove to the nation that they have what it takes to be the first ever ‘Dùbhlain DIY champions’ and still remain friends?

A joint project between Demus and Seaglass Productions, Dùbhlain DIY (Instructions Not Included) premieres on BBC ALBA and BBC iPlayer on Monday 6 May at 8.30pm (in Gaelic with English subtitles), with weekly episodes available every Monday evening. Watch live or on demand: