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Christmas and New Year schedule

18 December 2019

BBC ALBA has announced its Christmas and New Year schedule, offering a fantastic line-up of programmes from home and around the globe.

The Kitchen Coves are back to take on a Christmas Feast challenge in Seòid a’ Christmas. Roddy Angus and Uisdean cook all the things you’d want from a classic Christmas dinner, but with their own Highland twist on some of the courses – especially the Yule Log!

Iain MacKinnon presents a special Christmas celebration of carols and readings with Alleluia na Nollaige, with performances from Alasdair Whyte, Mischa MacPherson and the specially formed choral group Caireall.

Choirs galore feature in Eurovision Choir Gothenburg 2019 which charts the story of the Alba Choir who made their debut at the Eurovision Choir competition this year in Gothenburg.

Cathy McDonald reveals the forces that shaped the very different lives of two sons of the Hebrides in a compelling historical documentary Macleod MP/Maclean KGB. This tells the story of a Soviet Spy Donald MacLean and Tory Cabinet Minister Iain Macleod. Born in 1913, they both went to Cambridge University and in their own ways tried to change the world.

A fascinating mini-series of three programmes Sgoil nan Sagart/Priest School follows Ronald Campbell from Benbecula who becomes the first Catholic priest to be ordained there. Solus productions gained unprecedented access to the Vatican City, St Peter’s Basilica and the Apostolic Palace.

The award-winning, young humanitarian Gemma Steele makes a very special trip to her second home Kenya, in Am Pòsadh Afraganach/The African Wedding. On this visit she is accompanied by family and friends and her husband Shaun as they celebrate their marriage with her ‘other family’ at St Jerome’s orphanage.

BBC ALBA meets three Scottish dancers in Paris at the Moulin Rouge as the world-famous cabaret celebrates its 130th birthday. Moulin Rouge Écosse is a colourful and lively documentary about these young Scots who are living their dancing dream. Feathers, sequins, glitz and glamour presented by Cathy Bhàn – this show has it all.

Curaidh na Coille/Birdman of Pollok pays tribute to the remarkable life and achievements of the environmental campaigner Colin MacLeod. This programme follows his protest in the early 90s when he spent nine days up a tree in Pollok Country Estate to protect land that was going to be bulldozed to make way for an extension of the M77 motorway.

A heart-warming family documentary Sgeulachd Syd Agus Millie/Two Go to Tolsta tells the story of brother and sister Millie and Syd’s story. As young children in 1949 they ran away from their home in Hertfordshire and travelled over two days by train, bus and boat to the Outer Hebrides, with no money and no adult supervision to arrive at their granny’s house in the village of North Tolsta without having been stopped or challenged once. Their story hit the headlines at the time and now 70 years on Millie and Syd reminisce about their experience.

The hugely popular and award-winning sketch show FUNC returns for a special Hogmanay edition, starring some very special guest stars and a mix of the surreal, satirical and downright silly.

And it’s all back to ours for BBC ALBA’s fabulous Hogmanay Ceilidh live from Motherwell Concert Hall, hosted by Cathy Macdonald and Niall Iain Macdonald. With Peat & Diesel, Mànran, Alba Choir, Margaret Stewart and the Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band, viewers are sure to be entertained through the bells and into the new decade!

And it doesn’t stop there. On New Year’s Day, BBC ALBA star Anne Lundon gets behind the wheel and travels Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way in a new 4 part series. Following on from driving the North Coast 500 in Scotland, Anne finds out just what draws people to this stunning Irish West Coast route.

One of Glasgow’s best-known hostelries, the Park Bar, is also featured on New Year’s Day, with a programme charting the history of the popular pub which is a hub for many local visiting islanders and Highlanders.

The following day, on the 2nd, BBC ALBA gets to know the family behind the world famous Ardbhan fold of Highland cattle reared in North Uist. The film follows a year with the Macdonalds and their herd of award-winning cattle.

January also sees the return of a few BBC ALBA favourites with crofting tales from An Lot, Farpaisean Chon Chaorach / Sheepdog Trials and we go out and about with Ramsay in Mach à Seo!

And plenty of festive fun for children thanks to a great line-up of programmes

BBC ALBA has revealed a seasonal stocking filled with goodies for children over the festive period thanks to a fantastic line-up of programmes with a real focus on original content for younger viewers.

There’s a selection of seasonal treats for the little ones on Christmas Day including the channel’s own enchanting animated versions of Julia Donaldson’s An Fhaochag agus a’ Mhuc-mhara/The Snail and the Whale and the global hit the Moomins, in Gleann na Mùmain.

Two world-class European Broadcasting Union (EBU) films, a children’s drama and a short documentary, will also air on Christmas Day.

Both programmes, made by Sorbier Productions from Glasgow, received funding from the new Young Audience Content Fund (YACF), which is managed by the British Film Institute (BFI).

Rùn / Private Pet is a quirky comedy drama about listening and learning, in which a mischievous deaf boy’s world is transformed thanks to a four-legged friend who becomes the “ears” he never had and Balach aig a’ Mhullach /Boy at the Top is a breath-taking documentary with stunning scenery charting a boy’s attempt to climb the equivalent height of Everest – mountain by mountain in Scotland.

These programmes will also be available on the BBC iPlayer from 9am on Christmas morning, perfect for when all the presents have been unwrapped!

And from this year’s bumper Royal National Mòd, there is a chance for families to see their young ones performing with unseen footage from October’s winners.

And if the kids can stay up late enough on Hogmanay, everyone’s favourite riotous band Peat & Diesel will be helping bring in the bells alongside BBC ALBA stars Cathy MacDonald and Niall Iain MacDonald.

Bill MacLeod, Commissioning Editor for BBC ALBA said:

“BBC ALBA showcases some of the very best children’s programmes in the world. Presented by a brilliant cast of wacky, young presenters in our CBeebies and CBBC studios we can guarantee a feast of fun for the festive season – easily accessible on both the BBC ALBA channel and iPlayer.”

Find more information about the festive programmes here

Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ùr bho BBC ALBA!