Made Here: Trusadh, Cothrom nam ban/Where are the women? BBC ALBA

MONDAY’S episode of the Gaelic language news magazine, Trusadh, looks at the issue of equality for women in Scotland.

It is being broadcast on BBC ALBA at 2100.

Here, Peter MacQueen, producer at the programme’s makers, MacTV, answers the questions…

Who commissioned the series?

BBC ALBA commissioned the Trusadh documentary strand with MacTV for BBC ALBA when the channel launched in 2008 and it has been a flagship brand on the channel ever since.

Margaret Mary Murray is the executive producer and she commissioned this episode on equality in Scotland, which is titled ‘Cothrom nam Ban / Where are the Women?’

Explain the thinking behind the production’s ‘look and feel’

Annie Cheape is a freelance director with over 15 years of experience in Gaelic factual programming; MacTV invited her to work on this project.

Even although every Trusadh is different, this particular episode was unique in that it was focussing exclusively on women in Scottish society and their views on this issue: women’s present-day place in Scotland, told by the women themselves.

We wanted to speak to women who had achieved amazing things so that the programme would have an upbeat, inspirational feel.

Music was integral to this, and we exclusively used female artists, ranging from the ’70s to the present day, so that even when talking about historical events, there was a feeling of modernity and of progression.

Who are the key personnel? How were they recruited?

Christina McGonigle presented the hour-long documentary. She was approached by MacTV as she is an academic and historian, newly-retired from the University of Aberdeen, with a special interest in the role of women in society in Scotland.

Her expertise was a welcome addition at the pre-production stage, as Christina, together with the team of researchers (all female), and Annie the director, decided on who to interview.

The list was exclusively female and ranged from the first-ever female professor of medicine, to the world’s fastest knitter, young shinty playing women and Lesley Simpson, the first woman ever to lead one of Shetland’s traditional Up-Helly-Aa festivals.

Indeed, it was Lesley’s unique story that sparked the initial idea.

What kit and software?

The Trusadh programmes are shot on Canon XF305 and edited by our staff editors in Stornoway on Avid.

What have been the main production challenges?

The weather was our greatest challenge, with the wettest summer that anyone can remember drizzling on as our filming was happening.

However, with a determination and vigour that would have made Emily Pankhurst happy, our team filmed from Shetland to Skye, and Edinburgh to Stornoway and back again with humour, patience and professionalism, to create this fine documentary.

What did you most learn and enjoy from the experience?

That there are many amazing and inspirational women of all ages in society, with fascinating stories to tell and share, and the experience made the production team feel very hopeful about the future – that and if you want a good job done, ask a woman!