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Irish language and Ulster-Scots programmes get a big, new showcase on BBC iPlayer

Date Posted: October 23, 2017

BBC Northern Ireland’s Ulster-Scots and Irish Language television programmes are to be made more widely available to audiences around the UK on BBC iPlayer from today (Monday 23 October).

A wide collection of programmes, all of which have been supported by Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language and Ulster-Scots Broadcast Funds, will have a dedicated portal on BBC iPlayer where audiences will be able to access them beyond the standard 30 day period.

This initiative fulfils a commitment made by the BBC as part of its partnership Agreement with Northern Ireland Screen and will give significantly enhanced access to a range of Irish language and Ulster-Scots content.

To begin with, some of the Ulster-Scots programming that will be available includes: three series of Brave New World, in which William Crawley explored Ulster-Scots links with Canada, the USA and New Zealand; four Groundbreakers documentaries, telling the stories of seminal Ulster-Scots figures, including Nesca Robb, Mary Ann McCracken and William Tennent; A Special Relationship, which looked at the enduring links between Ulster and Scotland; and several music-based programmes, Music Night At Brownlow and The Call Of The Pipes.

Irish Language programmes to feature on the BBC iPlayer portal are: Ar Bhealach na Gaeltachta, in which presenter Conall Ó Máirtín visits the islands and coastal Gaeltacht regions around Donegal meeting those who live and work there; the Beart is Briathar series in which Eamonn Mallie interviews four high profile Irish-speaking personalities; the music series Trad Ar Fad! hosted by John Toal and Pauline Scanlon; Cumhacht an Cheoil which sees Irish musician Neil Martin explores the powerful effect that music has on people’s lives as he composes; Daniel O’Donnell music series Opry an lúir; and children’s series Cosmic Quantum Ray.

Peter Johnston, Director, BBC NI, said: “We have commissioned a diverse and ambitious mix of programmes with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Broadcast Funds. These reflect and celebrate our linguistic and cultural diversity. Making them available on BBC iPlayer will allow audiences to enjoy them again and make them much more accessible than ever before. It’s a tremendous development and a further enhancement of local content and presence on BBC iPlayer.”

Richard Williams, CEO, Northern Ireland Screen: “These important broadcast funds ensure that the heritage, culture and language of both Irish and Ulster-Scots are expressed through moving image. We are delighted that the wealth of content funded by both is now being made available on the BBC iPlayer. Audiences are in for a real treat and there is sure to be something on there for everyone, with such a vast amount of programming on offer covering documentary, music, drama, children’s, animation, lifestyle and factual.”

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