Press Office

Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

Press Release

Peter Mullan launches BBC Alba's Open Your Eyes Freeview campaign

A milestone in Gaelic broadcasting was celebrated today (Monday 23 May) as the countdown began to make BBC Alba available to every household in Scotland.

From 8 June BBC Alba will be available on Freeview channel 8 greatly increasing accessibility for viewers.

Actor and film-maker Peter Mullan, along with a host of TV stars and celebrities, including Gaelic broadcaster Cathy MacDonald, today launched the Open Your Eyes to BBC Alba campaign at the Glasgow Gaelic School to increase awareness of the channel's new availability on Freeview.

BBC Alba is also now available on Virgin Media's Cable channel 188.

The Open Your Eyes campaign was endorsed by First Minster Alex Salmond who said: "BBC Alba has captured the interest and imagination of both Gaelic and non-Gaelic speakers alike since its launch in 2008.

"The channel's move to Freeview will broaden the reach of BBC Alba, strengthen its role as a national broadcaster, and ensure everyone across the country has access to its quality programmes.

"Increasing access to BBC Alba also supports this Government's ongoing work to build a sustainable future for Gaelic as we celebrate its contribution to our culture and society and encourage a new generation of Gaelic speakers across Scotland."

Alasdair Morrison, Chairman of MG Alba, said: "Launching BBC Alba on both the Freeview and Cable platforms is a true landmark for Gaelic broadcasting. We have been immensely proud of the channel's achievements to date, appealing to both Gaelic and non-Gaelic speakers, and the BBC Trust's decision to make it available on Freeview is testament of its success.

"Being positioned so prominently on the Freeview listings reflects the channel's contribution and is now a one button step for viewers to enjoy our programming."

Ken MacQuarrie, Director BBC Scotland, added: "We know that viewers who already tune into BBC Alba really appreciate the variety and quality of the programmes it offers.

"Making it available on Freeview and Cable now means that audiences throughout the whole of Scotland will be able to enjoy these programmes in addition to those already watching on Satellite."

BBC Alba has made a positive contribution to Scottish broadcasting and the country's creative industries with the channel's programmes being produced by a range of independent production companies based across Scotland as well as from the BBC and STV. The channel also plays a key role in promoting the Gaelic language as well as supporting language learning through broadcasting programmes for learners and those interested in Gaelic language and culture.

Notes to Editors

BBC Alba is available on the following platforms:

  • Freeview channel 8 (from 8 June 2011)
  • Cable channel 188
  • Sky channel 168
  • Freesat channel 110
  • Live on BBC iPlayer
  • Ten hours of content per week is also available to view on demand via BBC iPlayer online and on Virgin Media

Documentaries, music and sport are the most popular genres on the channel and the future schedule of programmes continues to build on the current success of key strands on the channel including the Trusadh and Soillse documentary series, the popular Horo-Gheallaidh Celtic music show, and the teenage reality show Breab, as well as award winning Gaelic brands such as Eòrpa.

Coverage of top music and cultural festivals will include: RockNess, Celtic Connections, National Mòd and Piping Live

A comprehensive sports package will provide: As-live SPL action throughout the new season; live and exclusive broadcast of the Emirates Junior Cup Final 2011; Magners League final match 2011 – Leinster v Munster; Magners League Professional rugby – coverage of select Glasgow; and Warriors and Edinburgh matches during the 2011/12 season.

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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