Big-Budget Gaelic Drama To Begin Filming In Outer Hebrides

Big-Budget Gaelic Drama To Begin Filming In Outer Hebrides

Filming begins next week on a big-budget family drama, which producers hope will herald a new era in non-English language shows within the British Isles.

The Guardian reports that four-part thriller An t-Eilean (The Island) is the most expensive drama ever made in Scots Gaelic, coming in at £1million ($1.25m) an episode.

Cast and crew will descend on Amhuinnsuidhe Castle on the island of Harris – a location near Taransay, previously used for reality TV show Castaway in the early 2000s.

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Backers include the BBC, which has enjoyed ratings triumphs with previous Welsh-language series Keeping Faith (Un Bore Mercher) and Hinterland (Y Gwyll). The show is co-production between Black Camel Pictures, MG Alba, the Gaelic broadcasting agency, Screen Scotland and US-owned distributor All3Media.

The Guardian reports that, due to the work of All3Media, the show has already received offers from Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Belgium.

It quotes Black Camel’s Arabella Page Croft saying: “There is a lot of international intrigue and excitement around Gaelic culture and the Hebrides, and we definitely felt that in the market.” This interest has led producers to shoot the show mostly in Gaelic, with English dialogue making up just 30% of the script.

Keeping Faith starring Eve Myles debuted in 2018. The third and final series premiered on S4C in 2020, and the English language broadcast began on BBC One on 27 March 2021. By May 2021 the series had had over 50 million views on BBC iPlayer.

Hinterland, which debuted in 2013 starring Richard Harrington and was filmed in north Wales, ran for three seasons and went on to be shown in 150 countries.