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Thursday 27 Nov 2014

Press Release

Spotlight on legendary entertainers in BBC Scotland's festive offering

The lives of two of Scotland's most popular entertainers will be celebrated on screen this festive season. BBC Scotland is to broadcast tributes to television and panto star, Gerard Kelly, and to renowned singer Kenneth McKellar, who both died earlier this year.

The documentaries will feature in the BBC Scotland Christmas and Hogmanay programming line-up which was unwrapped today.

The tribute to Gerard Kelly, will celebrate 30 years of his career from a fresh-faced actor on Scotch and Wry, through the shenanigans of Willie Melvin in City Lights to Extras, Victoria Wood and Eastenders. It will feature contributions from friends and colleagues down the years.

Johnny Beattie will lead the tributes in the celebration of the life of Kenneth McKellar. The documentary will include classic archive material and contributions from family and friends, including Sir Jackie Stewart, Anne Lorne Gillies and Eddi Reader.

The programme line-up also offers a bumper selection of drama, music and comedy over the two week festivities.

In the Christmas episode of River City on 21 December on BBC One Scotland, Scarlett (Sally Howitt) is determined to put on a brave face for her family and hide the seriousness of her illness. Meanwhile, Christmas in the Tall Ship is a very sober affair with an expectant Eileen, played by Deirdre Davis, warning everyone not to drink as she can't. Later she gets locked in the bathroom and no one can hear her cries for help above the festive hilarity.

In the Hogmanay episode on 28 December, Scarlett insists her family go out and toast her future good health. Iona (Claire Knight) and Big Bob (Tom Urie) join the regulars in the Tall Ship. Bob plucks up the courage to ask Iona for a midnight kiss – the New Year could be a romantic one for this pair.

Sally Magnusson introduces Christmas Celebration, on BBC One Scotland on Christmas Eve. It includes a performance by RSAMD students filmed at Glasgow's stunning St Aloysius Church. The Proms in the Park show on BBC Two Scotland will bring the best of this year's concert from Dundee's Caird Hall.

On Hogmanay on BBC One Scotland, it's crunch time for Scottish football as Jonathan Watson tackles the heroes and villains of the national game in Only An Excuse? Jonathan's line-up will be a mixture of new and familiar faces who will be giving their singular views of how the beautiful game has been faring in Scotland.

Still on the comedy front, there's a compilation from the first series of Gary: Tank Commander on BBC One Scotland which will warm up fans for the new run of six episodes which begins in January.

Also during the festive period, in The Hebridean Trail on BBC Two Scotland, Cameron McNeish journeys from Vatersay – the most southerly inhabited island – to the Butt of Lewis in the north. On route he explores the landscape, history and culture that make these islands so special.

In Hogmanay Live on BBC One Scotland, Jackie Bird and Phil Cunningham bring in the New Year with some special guests from the BBC Scotland studios at Pacific Quay.

Among the festive highlights on BBC Radio Scotland there is also a tribute to Gerard Kelly. In Hiya Pal – A Tribute To Gerard Kelly, Janice Forsyth speaks to friends, family and colleagues like Craig Ferguson and Andy Gray.

Other festive radio treats include a Christmas special of Stark Talk when Edi Stark goes to Berlin to the home of singer songwriter, Fran Healy; Stan Laurel's Glasgow, in which Alex Norton goes on a tour of 1900s Glasgow as seen through the eyes of comic legend Stan Laurel, who loved the city but left it as an unknown; and in On The Road With Amy MacDonald, Richard Melvin follows the singer as she plays in some of Europe's biggest venues.

There's also comedy with a Desperate Fishwives New Year Special and the New Year will be brought in on Radio Scotland with The Hogmanay Show with Bryan Burnett and Janice Forsyth. In Cèilidh na Bliadhn' Ùire 2010 (Hogmanay Ceilidh 2010), John Carmichael and Uist local, Seasaidh Lexy, are throwing open the doors of Polochar Inn, South Uist, to say farewell to 2010 and a big Gaelic fàilte (welcome) to 2011. The programme will be simulcast on Radio nan Gàidheal and BBC Alba

Also on Hogmanay in A' Comharrachadh Bliadhna nan Òran (Celebrating the Year of Song) Morag MacDonald brings together beautiful and varied performances from specially made shows shown in the last 12 months to mark the Year of Song. Simulcast on Radio nan Gàidheal and BBC Alba, the programme will also reveal the song of the year, as voted for by the public from the 12 most notable Gaelic songs, selected from over 365 songs.

Donalda MacKinnon, Head of Programmes and Services, BBC Scotland, said: "We're bringing a great range of programming to the festive schedule to cater for the varied tastes of our audiences. From comedy to drama and music – there'll be something for everyone this festive season. It's a time of year for reflection, too, and I am delighted that we are remembering and celebrating the lives of Gerard Kelly and Kenneth McKellar in a significant way."

Notes to Editors

Full transmission details will be confirmed at a later date.


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