Richard Blair, the son of George Orwell, returns to the Corryvreckan whirlpool
Richard Blair, the son of George Orwell, returns to the Corryvreckan whirlpool

Worldwide funds for major new series on BBC ALBA

The power and mystery of the tide is the focus of a major new three-part series showing to BBC ALBA, the channel’s first co-production with Chinese investment.

Filmed across four continents, Tide is a visually stunning exploration of one of the most powerful and mysterious natural forces on Earth.

Along with Chinese production company LIC, the project was funded by broadcasters BBC ALBA, BBC Northern Ireland, S4C and TG4, and the distribution company Sky Vision.

Gaelic language producer MacTV, based in Stornoway, partnered the project with Welsh company Cwmni Da who first pitched the concept at the 2017 Celtic Media Festival.

The first episode aired on BBC ALBA at 9pm last Wednesday, 1 May and features George Orwell’s son Richard Blair, who revisits the famous Corryvreckan whirlpool which almost took their lives in 1947.

Richard Blair, the son of George Orwell, returns to the Corryvreckan whirlpool

The Gulf of Corryvreckan lies between the islands of Scarba and Jura and is home to one of the world’s largest whirlpools. Also amongst the international stories in the first episode is marine biologist Eoina Rodgers who is featured exploring the rockpools on a low spring tide on the island of Eriskay.

Richard said in the episode: ‘Unfortunately my father misread the timetable coming out of Glengarrisdale and we arrived at Corryvreckan not at slack water, but when the tide was still running on the flood and we got ourselves into all sorts of trouble on the edge of the whirlpool area.’

Scotland features throughout the series with features on the world’s last sea-going, manually-operated turntable ferry of its kind, skippered by a 20-year-old woman; and EMEC, the tidal and wave power testing centre in Orkney.

This year is the International Year of Indigenous Languages, highlighting the importance of nurturing and preserving knowledge in minority languages. Each country which has taken part in the co-production receives its own bespoke edit of the documentaries, in its own indigenous language.

The co-production comes off the back of last year’s announcement of £5.2million investment into high-quality programming for the Gaelic language channel.

Margaret Cameron, executive producer at BBC ALBA said: ‘We are very excited to be working with the partners on this brilliant project. World-class productions such as Tide enhances our offering to the BBC ALBA audience and unlocks the creative and economic potential in our suppliers.’

Corryvreckan tour guide Innes

Iseabail Mactaggart, director of strategy and partnerships at MG ALBA added: ‘We are proud to work closely with our suppliers in this innovative approach to ensuring new content for BBC ALBA, and proud that Gaelic broadcasting is leading the way in creating these powerful global partnerships.’

Dylan Huws, the managing director of Cwmni Da from Wales, said: ‘Cwmni Da was the driving force of the project in many ways and we sent teams as far afield as China, Canada and Korea along with various locations in Wales and across the UK. In all we filmed on four different continents, including 10 countries and the Arctic.

‘All the partners are proud of the fact that we have worked together because the television budgets for minority indigenous languages can be challenging.’

Episode one can be watched HERE.

Tide episodes two and three will air on BBC ALBA on 8 and 15 May respectively.