Media Release: BBC ALBA brings a festive sparkle to our TV screens

Hogmanay Ceilidh

BBC ALBA promises to light up TV screens over the Christmas and New Year season with a sparkling schedule of programmes for all ages.

Entertainment, music, documentaries and children’s programming are at the forefront of a festive schedule that also includes continued news and sports coverage.

Among the highlights of the schedule is The Switch-On, an emotional and poignant programme on New Year’s Day looking at the work of the Scottish Cochlear Implant Unit at Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock. We follow five people on their personal journeys for a procedure that presents significant risks but also unimaginable rewards.

On the same evening we also delve into the world of piping to look at the extraordinary work of local charities in creating the Govan Schools Pipe Band. The Wee Govan Pipers follows Scottish, Chinese and Nigerian children who are all being given the opportunity to learn the pipes under the expert tutelage of former Police Pipe Band pipers, providing Govan’s new multi-cultural generation a chance to master the traditional Scottish instrument renowned across the world.

Continuing on the musical and piping theme BBC ALBA will screen a documentary charting the life of one of Gaeldom’s great pipers and personalities – Rona Lightfoot. As we see in the hour long programme, the revered singer, piper, storyteller and teacher carries a treasure trove of folklore, music and song with her.

We also offer a unique glimpse into the off-stage world of Skipinnish and follow the band members at work and play as they balance life on and off the road.

With a new series of BBC ALBA’s flagship drama starting in the New Year, we also take a look at Bannan – Behind-the-Scenes on Christmas Eve to witness how the production has grown from inception to the new series that will be screen in 2016.

Another documentary also reveals the family and island ties of the Skye-born performer who has become a TV star at the grand age of 86. Peigi Wood – Na Bannan charts the places and people that have shaped the life of this energetic and charismatic actress, as she revisits the communities that have had special significance in her life.

For young people – and the young at heart – there is a variety of programming that all the family can enjoy. On Christmas Day, the much anticipated children’s animation Stick Man comes to BBC ALBA with a special Gaelic version following the father of a family of sticks, who crosses great distances to try and get home in time for Christmas.

Another festive treat for all the family are the classic archive episodes of the iconic children’s programme Dòtaman.

Join BBC ALBA to usher in Christmas Day and the New Year. At 11.00pm on Christmas Eve, the channel has a Christmas Celebration of carols and readings from the Duncansburgh Macintosh Church in Fort William. And on Hogmanay Cathy MacDonald and Kirsteen MacDonald will be hosting a Hogmanay Cèilidh, from The Byre at Inchyra in Perthshire. Joining the celebrations will be a host of music acts including Skipinnish, Mairi MacInnes and the foot stomping Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band.

Sport remains a key strand of festive viewing on BBC ALBA, with live PRO12 rugby as Edinburgh and Glasgow commence battle for the 1872 Cup. The first leg from Murrayfield will be live on the channel on Sunday 27 December. We’ll also have Scottish Championship football, with Morton v Raith Rovers on 18th December and Alloa v Falkirk live on BBC ALBA on 2nd January.

Margaret Mary Murray, head of Service for BBC ALBA, said: “Our festive programming is always a highlight of the BBC ALBA schedule and we think there is a real warmth to so many of the productions this Christmas and New Year. With documentaries, music, live sport and children’s programming, we hope there is something for all the family to enjoy on the channel.”


For further information please contact Lorna Gardner or Gary McQueen at Media House on 0141 220 6040 or email: /

Notes to editors:

BBC ALBA is available on the following platforms:

  • Sky 143 (UK)
  • Freeview / You View 8 (Scotland only)
  • Virgin Media 161 (UK)
  • Freesat 110 (UK)
  • BBC iPlayer

BBC ALBA is run by MG ALBA in partnership with the BBC. MG ALBA is the operating name of Seirbheis nam Meadhanan Gàidhlig, the Gaelic Media Service. Find out more about MG ALBA and the partnership at or visit for scheduling and programme information.

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