Media Release: BBC ALBA follows the trail set in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped

Kidnapped - Cathy MacDonald on Rannoch Moor

Sàr-Sgeòil – Kidnapped

BBC ALBA – Thursday 27 September 8.30 – 9.00pm

CAPTURING the essence of Scotland’s landscape has been a vital aspect of many of the nation’s most treasured literary gems.

The importance of this backdrop in the work of one of Scotland’s best-loved authors, Robert Louis Stevenson, is evident as Cathy MacDonald finds out in the second programme of a new BBC ALBA series.

In this edition of Sàr-Sgeòil (Classic Tales), Cathy follows in the footsteps of David Balfour – hero of Stevenson’s Kidnapped – in his flight through the heather in the company of the Jacobite rebel, Alan Breck Stewart.

Says a spokesperson: “Cathy discovers that Stevenson not only drew on his intimate knowledge of the Scottish landscape in the creation of this classic tale, but on his wide knowledge of Jacobite history.

“The murder of ‘the Red Fox’ – Colin Roy of Glenure – is a historic fact, and many of the characters, including Alan Breck, were real people.

“We see Cathy follow the trail of the fictitious Balfour through the very real history and geography of Scotland.

“At South Queensferry, she visits the very inn where David is kidnapped so that his wicked uncle can steal his inheritance.

“On the island of Erraid, off Mull, Cathy finds the shore where David is washed up after the ship he is held captive on is wrecked.

“As an apprentice to his lighthouse engineer father, the young Stevenson had visited Erraid, and drew on his memories of it for his great novel.

“Cathy goes on to explore Appin, the scene of the Red Fox’s murder, and Glencoe, where David and Alan Breck flee from the Redcoats who are hunting them, believing them to be the murderers.

“Cathy’s journey – and the novel – ends near Edinburgh, where David Balfour’s quest for justice, and Alan Breck’s flight for freedom, ends.”

The spokesperson adds: “Although Stevenson was a lowland Presbyterian, we soon discover that his treatment of Highlanders and Jacobites in Kidnapped is deeply sympathetic – something that may not have been instantly expected from a novel set in the mid-18th century.”

Sàr-Sgeòil (Classic Tales), produced by Caledonia TV, can be seen on BBC ALBA on tonight (Thursday 27 September) from 8.30pm.


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


BBC ALBA is available on the following platforms:

  • Freeview 8 (Scotland only)
  • Virgin Media 188 (Scotland only)
  • Sky 168 (UK)
  • Freesat 110 (UK)
  • Live on BBC iPlayer (UK)
  • 10 hours of content per week is also available to view on demand via the BBC PC iPlayer and the BBC iPlayer on Virgin Media

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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Contact: Gary McQueen
Phone: 0141 220 6040