BBC Alba (TV channel)

BBC Alba (TV channel)

Infobox TV channel
name = BBC Alba
logofile = BBC Alba.svg
logoalt =
launch = 19 September 2008
picture format = 576i (PAL) 16:9
owner = BBC and MG ALBA
slogan = A new channel for Scotland/Sianal Ùr Gàidhlig
country = Scotland
headquarters = Stornoway and Pacific Quay, Glasgow
language = Scottish Gaelic
web = []
sister names = BBC One Scotland,
BBC Two Scotland
sat serv 1 = Sky Digital
sat chan 1 = Channel 168
sat serv 2 = Freesat
sat chan 2 = Channel 110
sat serv 3 = Astra 2D
sat chan 3 = 11954H 27500 2/3
cable serv 1 = Virgin Media
cable chan 1 = Channel TBA|

BBC Alba is a Scottish Gaelic language digital television channel which is broadcast by the BBC throughout the United Kingdom on satellite and cable television. The channel was launched at 9pm on Friday 19 September 2008. The name "Alba" is the Gaelic word for Scotland.

The station is unique in that it is the first channel to be delivered under a BBC licence by a partnership and is also the first multi-genre channel to come entirely from Scotland with almost all of its programmes made in Scotland. The channel partners are MG ALBA and the BBC. [cite news
title = Gaelic digital TV channel debated
publisher =
date = 2007-08-29
url =
accessdate = 2007-08-03
] [ [ BBC - Commissioning - BBC ALBA ] ] []

On-air for up to seven hours a day, "BBC Alba" broadcasts throughout the UK on satellite (Sky Digital & Freesat) and it was hoped to be on Virgin from launch. The BBC & Virgin Media are still in negotiations about broadcasting the station. Subject to review by the BBC Trust, it will be broadcast on Freeview, in Scotland only, from the digital switchover (2010). The channel is funded and operated jointly by MG ALBA and the BBC. Whilst the partnership runs the channel, Gaelic programming on BBC Two Scotland will continue at least until digital switchover takes place. The Gaelic Digital Service will also include BBC Radio nan Gàidheal during downtime hours (alongside simulcasts of BBC Radio Scotland & BBC Radio Five Live) and online content.

Launch night

The channel began broadcasting at 9pm on 19 September with an launch video featuring a new rendition of the Runrig song, "Alba". The first part of a live celidh from Skye was followed by a specially produced comedy drama entitled "Elbheas" (Elvis), staring Greg Hemphill as Elvis Presley, at 9:30pm. The channel's first independent commission, "Peter Manuel – Deireadh an Uilc?" ("Peter Manuel - The End of Evil?"), a drama documentary produced by SMG Productions, was shown at 10:30pm before the opening night closed with the second half of the live celidh from Skye. The launch night was simulcast on BBC Two Scotland between 9pm and 10:30pm.


"BBC Alba" combines television, radio and on-line programme content, and is anticipated to have a positive impact at many levels including increasing artistic and technical skills, extending economic opportunities, stimulating parents' interest in Gaelic medium education, appealing to and serving the adult learners and strengthening Gaelic usage in extremely important media. It holds significant potential to assist with the development of positive attitudes to the acquisition and transmission of Gaelic. "BBC Alba" broadcasts more Scottish sport than any other channel, with over 3 hours a week of football, rugby and shinty. In addition, the station also broadcasts a live news programme for 30 minutes every weekday.


MG ALBA and the BBC have announced that around ninety minutes of television content daily will be new material. Output on the station consists of news, current affairs, sport, drama, documentary, entertainment, education, religion and children's programming, broadcast on most days between 5pm and 12am. Sport programmes began on Saturday 20 September 2008 and news services on Monday 22 September 2008. []

Children's programmes are shown for two hours every weekday, between 5pm and 7pm. Current affairs series Eòrpa and children's magazine show Dè a-nis? are broadcast on Thursday nights on BBC Alba and also continue to be shown on BBC Two Scotland at their usual timeslots on Thursdays. []

A nightly half-hour news programme, An Là, is aired on weeknights at 8pm. Spòrs on Saturday nights features weekly coverage of a selected SPL match. A Gaelic-learning programme, "Speaking our Language" is shown on weeknights at 7:30pm. Former "Eòrpa" reporter, Derek Mackay hosts a weekly chat show, "Cnag na Cùise", on Sunday nights.


BBC Alba concentrates on three sports, football, Rugby and Shinty. [ [ SFL's delight at joy sponsorship deal for Challenge Cup - The Daily Record ] ]

The station broadcasts one full SPL game every Saturday night - an arrangement due to continue until the end of the 2009-10 season. [ [ BBC SPORT | Football | Scottish Premier | BBC Gaelic to screen SPL matches ] ] The game shown is a selected one not covered by either live Setanta Sports or on an on-demand basis by BT Vision and shown three hours after the end of the match. [ [ BBC Scotland Alba | Naidheachdan | Geamaichean a' Phrìomh Lìog air an t-Seirbheis Dhidseataich ] ] . The match only includes Gaelic commentary along with English subtitles.

BBC Alba will also broadcast at least two live football games this season - one semi final and the final of the Alba Challenge Cup, sponsored by MG ALBA.

BBC Alba recently struck a deal with the Scottish rugby authorities to show one live rugby, Scottish Hydro Electric Premiership Division One match every weekend. []


BBC Alba has four studios across Scotland in Stornoway, Glasgow, Inverness and Portree. Continuity and channel management is based in Stornoway while the news services will be based in Inverness. BBC Scotland's headquarters at Pacific Quay in Glasgow will be used to transmit the programmes. [] The First Minister, Alex Salmond opened the new BBC Alba studio in Portree in August 2008 where he recorded a message for the launch of BBC Alba. [] []


"BBC Alba" is funded by MG ALBA, which is financed by the Scottish Government, and BBC Scotland.

The BBC currently spends £3.2 million on radio content and £2.1 million for TV and online. The BBC contributes an additional £2.5 million to the station. (BBC figures exclude distribution costs.) MG ALBA will apply the majority of its budget (£12.4 million in 2008/09) to the Gaelic Digital Service.

ee also

*BBC Alba
*MG Alba
*Bòrd na Gàidhlig
*List of Celtic language media
*TG4 (1996) - Irish language TV station
*TV Breizh (2001) - Breton TV station


External links

* [ BBC Alba website]
* [ Gaelic Digital Service proposals] at

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