BBC ALBA: Winter Commissioning Round 2020

BBC ALBA is a contemporary, forward-looking channel with Gaelic at its heart; our people, our language, our culture, our world. The channel's outlook is broad, and their ambitions are high. BBC ALBA want to tell stories which resonate with communities across Scotland and the world, enriching and illuminating lives through their unique perspective.

The Winter Commissioning Round for 2020 is now open. The programme commissioning priorities include Documentary Factual, Factual Entertainment, and Children's Short Documentary.

Current Commissioning Priorities

Documentary Factual

BBC ALBA want strong, compelling stories primarily for the Autumn 2020 schedule, seeking stories which will speak to audiences in Scotland and beyond, told with creativity, distinctiveness and authenticity, which have the potential to create substantial impact and win awards. Feature length factual ideas are welcome. Recent examples include programmes such as Rose Reilly, Trump’s Mother, Sùlasgeir: An t-Sealg.

Popular Factual / Factual Entertainment

Programmes of special interest and value for the Gaelic-speaking community, reflecting and offering fresh perspectives on contemporary life and which have a popular, cross-generational appeal. Recent examples include: Trusadh: Dannsa Gàidhealach - An t-Slighe a Chòmhaill, Sàr Sgeòil: Consider the Lilies, Na Millenni-Gaels.

Children's Short Documentary

BBC ALBA are delighted to be taking part in this prestigious international showcase for the world’s best children’s factual films once again run by the EBU (European Broadcasting Union). Following on from Lachlan: Balach aig a Mhullach, the channel are looking for story proposals/casting ideas with a view to commissioning a new documentary as part of the scheme.


The deadline for programme ideas is Friday 10 January 2020 at 1pm. Further details are available on MG ALBA's website.

Drama Development Opportunity

Over the past decade, BBC ALBA’s Gaelic drama programmes have entertained and enthralled audiences with bold, compelling and imaginative stories. Titles such as Bannan have won large and loyal audiences - as well as establishing powerful engine rooms for the development of Gaelic writers, directors and actors. The BBC ALBA partnership seek to build on this creative success.

BBC ALBA are refreshing their drama slate and seek expressions of interest in developing a contemporary, peak-time, returnable serial in the Gaelic language. This is an exciting opportunity to note your interest in developing an original Scottish drama that can punch above its weight creatively and critically.

What they're seeking

Essential considerations that BBC ALBA are looking for in drama development ideas include:

  • A focus on audience. In a rapidly-changing environment drama and scripted content remain touchstones for viewers.
  • Authenticity, relatability and a passion for popular story-telling.
  • Strong, character-led scenarios that achieve a significant impact on the channel and beyond.
  • Creativity and innovation in production models.
  • Gaelic creative talent and creative partnerships should be at the heart of the conversation.
  • Experience of collaboration with screen funding agencies and in accessing different funding streams.
  • BBC ALBA welcome interest from established drama suppliers to BBC ALBA as well as from the wider TV drama industry in Scotland.

More information

For guidelines on the types of format, genre, audience, ambition, talent, partnerships and tariffs BBC ALBA would like applicants to consider, please visit

Deadline for notes of interest

Notes of interest should be submitted by 29 November 2019. Further information on submitting notes of interest is available on the MG ALBA website.