Highlands & Islands

Skye view: Behind the scenes of Gaelic TV's Bannan

Bannan will be screened later this month on BBC Alba.

The show marks the Gaelic television channel's first foray into original drama.

Young Films, the production company behind it, has shared some behind the scenes images while cast members Debbie Mackay, Donald Ewen MacKinnon and Alasdair Mackay have given their thoughts on the new show.

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"It is significant because of how rare it is," says MacKinnon, who plays a character called Alasdair.

"It's the first Gaelic drama in over 20 years, so it is exceptional in that sense."

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Mackay, who plays Mairi, says: "As people I think we like to see other people's lives in a fictional setting. People like a wee escape."

Bannan follows the story of a young woman's return to the island she left when she was a teenager.

Scenes were shot on the Isle of Skye.

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Mackay says Bannan's universal story will appeal to viewers, whether they speak Gaelic or not.

"We are now much more used to watching films and programmes in other languages and reading subtitles. Maybe 20 years ago people might have been put off by that."

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Bannan emerged from a commitment from BBC Alba to tackle the channel's lack of drama.

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Alasdair Mackay, who plays Donneil, says: "As usual the most important thing is the story in a drama.

"As long as the story is good enough and you have good characters, I think the language in many respects is just a medium of what is coming through."

He adds: "Gaelic has a very strong storytelling tradition going back hundreds of years, so there is no reason that it doesn't come out in the modern form of television and film.

"I think it is important for a language to be seen doing a drama."

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Tony Kearney, a star of BBC Scotland's River City, directed Bannan.

Chris Young, who produced E4 comedy The Inbetweeners, has produced the series through his Skye-based company Young Films.

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The new programme, whose cast also includes John Macaskill, who plays Coinneach, and Peigi Wood, who plays Peggy, will be broadcast for the first time on BBC Alba on 23 September.

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