Media Release: BBC ALBA presents rich autumn schedule of programmes

Fiona MacKenzie, Eilidh Duncan, 4, from Alloa, who has a life shortening illness and features in Home from Home and Broadcaster, Cathy MacDonald (1)

BBC ALBA has unveiled its new schedule of programmes for Autumn 2016, featuring entertainment, factual and current affairs programmes plus music, children’s shows, sport, live events and new drama from Bannan.

Agnes Johnstone, wife of Scotland and Celtic legend,  Jimmy Johnstone, and much-loved Gaelic broadcaster, Cathy MacDonald, were among the attendees at the launch event held today (Wednesday 7 September) at BBC Pacific Quay, Glasgow, which was hosted by popular BBC ALBA presenter Fiona MacKenzie.

A wide range of exciting new commissions will be brought to the screen complementing the channel’s popular factual documentary series Trusadh, hard hitting current affairs series, Eòrpa, music series Seirm and kids’ favourite, Dè a-nis?.

Some of the new programmes featuring in the autumn line-up include:

Home from Home, a poignant documentary following some of the children and families who attend Scotland’s two children’s hospices, Rachel and Robin Houses.

One of their visitors is five-year-old Eilidh from Alloa, who has a life-shortening illness – Chronic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction with intestinal failure.

Eilidh was referred to the children’s hospice Robin House in Balloch when she was only two years old. Eilidh and her whole family love it at Robin House and all go there around four times a year for respite care.

Hamish, a compelling and heartfelt tribute to the leading poet, intellectual and songwriter, Hamish Henderson, which has been co-funded by Creative Scotland. Scottish filmmaker, Robbie Fraser, directed the film which provides an insight into Henderson’s journey from orphan to cultural hero – as well as being cited as the catalyst for the folk revival in Scotland.

Folk-singer, musician and writer, Steve Byrne, who has been published in two volumes of the life and work of Hamish Henderson, was in attendance to perform one of Henderson’s best known songs ‘Freedom Come all Ye’.

For sporting viewers, Jimmy ‘Jinky’ Johnstone, a feature-length personal profile of the legendary Scotland and Celtic football player, which includes tributes from his wife, children, friends and fellow team mates.

Sàr-sgeoil / Outlander explores the locations across Scotland which are the backdrop for the Outlander novels and the popular TV drama.

Cathy MacDonald meets Diana Gabaldon, the multi-million-selling author of the Outlander novels, to understand how Scottish history provided the inspiration for the chronicles and travels to some of the locations that are attracting Outlander fans from across the globe.

Musician Dougie MacLean was also present to highlight BBC ALBA’s music offerings including the return of the popular Perthshire Amber series. Dougie MacLean developed the Perthshire Amber Festival as a way to share his inspiring music as well as to celebrate the history and culture of his Perthshire home, and BBC ALBA will be bringing viewers highlights from the festival.

BBC ALBA’s original Gaelic drama,  Bannan, will return in the autumn with its third series and filming in Skye for the fourth series already underway.

The channel also welcomes two new presenters, Kim Carnie (age 22 from Oban) and Mark Smith (age 19 from Shawbost, Lewis) who will be making their debut when they join the team on the ever-popular children’s programme,  a-nis?, now in its 24th series.

Margaret Mary Murray, head of Service for BBC ALBA, said: “We hope our new schedule will surprise and delight viewers of all ages across Scotland with the range and quality of new programmes from drama to factual documentary, sport, music and children’s delivered by some of the best programme producers and finest independent companies in Scotland.”

Among the highlights for this season are:


  • Jimmy ‘Jinky’ Johnstone – feature length personal profile of Jimmy Johnstone, the legendary Scotland and Celtic football player, including tributes from his wife and children, friends and fellow players. Jimmy’s stellar performances on the field were in contrast to his personal battles later in life with alcohol and then motor neurone disease which resulted in his death in 2006 aged just 61.
  • Trusadh – Biadh gu Beatha / Food for Life – the Munro family from Skye take up the challenge of changing their diet to healthier options and seeing how this affects their daily lives.
  • Breathless: Living with Cystic Fibrosis – a poignant medical documentary following a number of people who live with cystic fibrosis and how they cope with the invasive treatment regime required to live as normal a life as they can.
  • Dualchas a’ Chaisteil / The Castle – a six-part series following the journey of the derelict Victorian landmark, Lews Castle, as it is transformed against all odds from semi-ruin to multi-million pound heritage and hospitality centre.
  • Trusadh – An Turas Chun Ear: Manus ‘s Daibhidh / The Trip East: Magnus & Daibhidh – is the intrepid story following two friends cycling through Laos and Tibet. Conquering icy roads and snow at 5,000 metres above sea level followed by jungle areas with temperatures of 40 degrees C in some of the most remote regions of China, the friends experience adversity and human kindness on the trip of a lifetime.
  • Aghaidh ri Aghaidh / Face to Face – Jobs v Gates – Bill Gates and Steve Jobs dominated the computing industry in a period of massive commercialisation and consumerisation which changed the vast majority of industries forever. Their lives were inextricably linked and possibly the most high-profile rivalry ever seen in any industry.


  • Seirm returns for a second series and covers live performances recorded in Hillhead Book Club offering an eclectic mix of traditional and folk music.
  • Na Worlds 2016 – highlights of the World Pipe Band Championships 2016 from Glasgow Green.
  • Scottish Traditional Music Awards 2016/Na Trads – live coverage from Dundee’s Caird Hall.
  • Ceolmhor@Piping Live celebrating the best of the Piping Live! Festival 2016 featuring an array of international and national pipers.


  • Live coverage of the SPFL Championship and Challenge Cup as well as extended highlights of SPFL Premiership football.
  • Live PRO12 rugby.
  • Live coverage of Scotland Women’s Euro 2017 qualifying matches.


  • BBC ALBA’s popular drama series, Bannan, returns for its third series. Filmed on the Isle of Skye, Bannan is produced by Chris Young, producer of The Inbetweeners, and directed by Tony Kearney. The series tells the story of Màiri MacDonald’s return to the island home she deserted eight years ago and how family and community ties (in Gaelic these are ‘Bannan’) draw her back to the island.


  • Floogals – animation following the adventures of three exuberantly inquisitive aliens exploring Planet Earth. Every day an exciting mission of experimentation, learning, and discovery awaits Captain Fleeker, First Officer Flo, and Junior Boomer as they explore the human way of life.
  • Alpha & Omega – Family Vacation is the fourth film in the Alpha & Omega series featuring the wolf mum and dad and their frisky wolf cubs: Smokey, Claudette and Runt.
  • a-nis?  (What Now?) celebrates its 24th series with the addition of two new presenters, Kim Carnie and Mark Smith. This series retains the much loved features including the kids’ space hopper races and wacky ‘experts’ but also has new topics for exploration – from Shakespeare to sand sculptures.

BBC ALBA is delivered through the partnership set up between the BBC and MG ALBA, the Gaelic Media Service, a unique broadcasting partnership providing a successful public service.


Pictures from the event will be available from Media House and will be distributed to all picture desks.  

For further information please contact:

Notes to editors:

BBC ALBA is available on the following platforms:

  • Sky 142
  • Freeview / You View 7 (Scotland only)
  • Virgin Media 161 (UK)
  • Freesat 109 (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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