BBC ALBA’a upcoming schedule shows this most unparochial Gaelic television channel exploring the issue of place and identity in a typically multifaceted fashion.
First, on Wednesday 9th January, Soillse – Buth Yousef/Corner Store airs from 21.00-21.50.
This focuses on the migration a decade ago of Yousef, who left his wife and three small children in Palestine to try to build a new life for them all in San Francisco.
For the past ten years he has worked day and night to build a small business, save money, and become part of his adopted community – while still trying to stay connected from afar with his home place and his familiar society.
Yousef must confront the current realities in both his family and his country and decide if a new life in America is really still the right path for them to take.
Maybe staying in Palestine is the best option after all. Stay or go? It is an age-old choice that will decide their future, and one they ultimately make together as a family.
The following evening, on Thursday 10th January, the channel airs The British Connection: Clydebank & Kelso, from 21.00-22,00.
This programme provides the opportunity to watch two programmes from the BBC television series, The British Connection which explored people’s sense of identity during the 1970s, focusing on the Scottish towns of Clydebank and Kelso.
Representatives from both communities give an insight into their lives at the time, discuss how they feel about their local environment and whether they feel Scottish or British. The programmes were first broadcast in March 1978.
This is an issue very much of the moment and opened up with a degree of enabling obliqueness, by taking it out of culture on the one hand and out of time on the other.
BBC ALBA is very good at this and has become a remarkably mature, steady footed and adventurous channel in a very short time.
Note: There’s a specific Argyll interest in a programme to be transmitted from 21.00-21.45 on 17th January: Look Stranger: Gigha and Rhum. This was a BBC documentary series filmed throughout Britain between 1970 and 1976, allowing viewers the opportunity to witness life in differing communities through the eyes of local people.