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More international funding for BBC ALBA projects

25 February 2020

MG ALBA has announced further additional content for BBC ALBA, including a new Canadian co-production planned for 2021.

Stornoway-based media company, MacTV, was successful in securing £28.5k in development funding for an ambitious international project with the working title Secrets in the Peat.

The Canada – Scotland Co-development Incentive for Television and Digital Media Content is funded by the Canada Media Fund and Highlands & Islands Enterprise (with support from Scottish Screen).

This follows an initial investment of £5k through the Celtic International Fund – backed by MG ALBA & TG4 – in late 2019.

Seumas Mactaggart, Head of Production & Development at MacTV, said:

“Agreements like this will assist MacTV’s aspirations for further growth, and to increase the scale of what we have already achieved through our extensive work with BBC ALBA, and our growing and successful international co-production collaborations.

“It will now allow us to create a strong, and comprehensive bespoke pitch package for Secrets in the Peat to take to the global market.”

MG ALBA, the organisation which operates BBC ALBA in partnership with the BBC also announced that international agreements have brought additional content to the value of £8 million for Scotland’s Gaelic-language channel.

The announcements were made to coincide with the visit of Deputy First Minister of Scotland, John Swinney, to MG ALBA’s base in Stornoway. He said:

“This is welcome news and speaks volumes about the important work MG ALBA undertakes to support and promote the Gaelic language”.

The 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.

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.

Margaret Cameron, MG ALBA’s Channel Editor for BBC ALBA, said:

“Working with international partners allows us all to learn from one another and means BBC ALBA is more equipped to create new and even more ambitious projects, which will benefit our whole industry and ultimately our viewers.”

MacTV will now develop Secrets in the Peat along with Canadian production partner, Cineflix, based in Montreal, and it’s planned that the series will go into production in 2021.

The series will explore the ancient secrets of peatlands, and the special relationship that communities have with them.

This is the latest international success for the Stornoway based company who, along with the Welsh production company, Cwmni Da, co-produced the award-winning natural history & factual specialist series, An Làn / Tide. Funded by BBC Northern Ireland, S4C, BBC ALBA, TG4 and LIC China, Tide won a Silver Award at the prestigious China Dragon Awards in October 2019.

In November 2019, MacTV and Cwmni Da also announced a collaboration with Korean broadcaster JTV, and the partners from An Làn / Tide to produce a new series of documentaries. Rain Stories which will be co-produced along with Belfast based Below the Radar, with finance package and production planned for spring 2020 and broadcast on BBC ALBA in 2021.

MacTV have just delivered a series Thar na Loidhne / Crossing the Line looking at young up-and-coming rugby players in Ireland and Scotland and the growth in take up in the sport. Co-produced with Crawford McCann in Belfast with funding from MG ALBA, TG4 and the Irish Language Broadcast Fund (ILBF), broadcast is on BBC ALBA is from 2/3/20 to coincide with the Women’s Six Nations Rugby Championships.

Ealasaid MacDonald, MG ALBA’s newly appointed Director of Strategy & External Affairs, said:

“MG ALBA has had an international vision for a number of years as part of our Lèirsinn strategy and this valuation of £8 million of original content demonstrates how successful we’ve been with that.”