Inbetweeners producer starts filming on BBC ALBA drama

CHRIS Young, the producer of the hugely-succesful Channel 4 sitcom, The Inbetweeners, has begun work on the first drama to be made for the Gaelic language TV channel, BBC ALBA.

Filming has already begun on ‘Bannan / The Ties That Bind’, which is to be in pilot form, at least initially, with an expected transmission date of September next year.

The news was among the highlights at the launch of BBC ALBA’s Autumn schedule, which includes a commitment to screen, live, the World Cup qualifying games to be played by the Scotland women’s football team.

Bannan has been penned by new Gaelic screenwriter, Chrisella Ross (pictured, right, with Young), and will comprise three, half-hour episodes – long enough, Young hopes, for characters to be adopted by viewers, though, of course, he wished there was more money available to make at least six episodes.

Perhaps for the first time, he told an audience gathered in Glasgow for the launch, the making of Bannan will be all in Gaelic. In others words, for instance, the director giving instructions in the language to the actors.

Edinburgh-born, Young has lived on the Isle of Skye for the last 15 years. He produced the Gaelic film, Seachd, which screened in 2007.

Bannan is being directed by Tony Kearney and it is being part-funded by Creative Scotland.

In a media release issued to accompany the launch, BBC ALBA’s head of service, Margaret Mary Murray, is quoted, as saying: “We are very proud to be delivering another very strong package of programmes for our Autumn schedule. Our documentaries, music and sport programmes and series, will continue to provide high quality entertainment for our viewers and we are also delighted to be announcing a new pilot drama series for BBC ALBA.

“This new drama series, Bannan, which will screen in 2014, is a fantastic step forward for BBC ALBA, helping us in our ambition to establish drama within our schedule, and it is something which has been much anticipated by our viewers.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Creative Scotland on this project and are privileged to have acclaimed producer, Chris Young, overseeing the production. The drama offers a platform to enhance existing and emerging talent and provides opportunities for employment and training across a wide range of disciplines in the creative sector in Scotland.”

The release also quotes Janet Archer, chief executive of Creative Scotland, as saying: “This is an exciting time for people who are passionate about Gaelic drama. There are increasing opportunities for established and emerging actors, directors, writers, and producers to create new work, and a growing momentum for audiences in Scotland, the UK and internationally to have chances to see Gaelic drama. I’m looking forward to Bannan, not only because it is shaping up to be a great show, but because it also has fantastic potential to act as a catalyst for the continued development of Gaelic drama across this country, and Creative Scotland is pleased to be working with BBC ALBA to help bring the pilot series to the small screen.”

BBC ALBA recently celebrated its fifth birthday. Last year, it screened a fly-on-the-wall documentary following the fortunes of Scotland’s pre-eminent women’s football club, Glasgow City.

And soon, the channel will be showcasing live international matches from the 2015 Women’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers as Scotland competes against countries including Bosnia and Northern Ireland on their quest to reach the finals in Canada.

Pic: Stuart Nicol.