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Interesting facts about BBC Alba channel
  • 1

    BBC Alba was launched in 2008 as the part-time TV channel specifically aimed at supporting and promoting the Scottish Gaelic language in the media and providing varied content for Gaelic speakers and people who wanted a point of access to this language. Alba in the channel name stands for the Gaelic name of Scotland.

  • 2

    The channel is unique in several aspects: it is the first channel that was conceived and produced as a partnership under a BBC license (BBC+MG Alba) and the first channel with complete multi-genre programming that is broadcasted exclusively from Scotland and relies on the content provided by Scottish production companies.

  • 3

    Since the day of its launch, the numbers of the channel audience fluctuate up and down, but even today BBC Alba has the audience five times larger than the actual number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland.

  • 4

    BBC Alba is the channel that broadcasts more Scottish sports news and programs than any other channel. The most highlighted kinds of sport include football, rugby, curling and shinty (the game played with sticks and a ball, somewhat resembling field hockey).

  • 5

    On the premiere evening, the channel opened with live broadcast of the traditional Gaelic cèilidh (a social gathering with dancing and merrymaking) interspersed by musical numbers, drama premieres, and other TV episodes thematically related to Scotland.

  • 6

    To facilitate channel viewing for people who don’t speak Gaelic, most programmes and series have English subtitles on the screen. Live broadcasts and children’s programmes don’t have subtitling. Somewhat controversially, the English language in programming is not subtitled in Gaelic.

  • 7

    As a channel that promotes the language of minorities, BBC Alba shows dramas and series of countries whose languages are not regularly presented to global audiences. Here, people can watch films made, for example, in Norway or Iceland in their native languages with English subtitles.

  • 8

    One of the most challenging and majestic shows on the channel is “Dàna: Scotland’s Wild Side” in which an experienced adventurer and climber Coinneach Rankin travels through Scotland and climbs some of its most beautiful mountains. The aim of the show is to open the beauty of Scotland to a wider audience in an entertaining and meaningful way.

  • 9

    BBC Alba has its own special one-hour news broadcast An Là that airs daily around 8 p.m. and has a roundup version on weekends. This programme mostly covers Scottish matters, and the news briefing on European affairs goes under the programme name Eòrpa (Europe).

  • 10

    The channel annually hosts the festive Hogmanay broadcast Bliadhna Mhath Ùr that begins on the night of December, 31, and rolls over into the ‘wee hours’ of January, 1. The celebration includes the cèilidh, music, dance, and a surprising or dramatic arrival of a special ‘first foot’ guest.