In Gaelic, they say am fear a bhios fada aig an aiseig, gheibh e thairis uaireigin. The one who waits for a long time at the ferry will get over eventually. And so it is with Gaelic TV. If you wait long enough, another gem will always come along.
It’s a ferry I’ve been hoping to catch for a while now. You see, if you’re looking to create a language learning immersion environment at home, it does help if there’s already an abundance of quality resources.
For some languages, it’s no problem. Greek, Iceland, Norwegian and Polish, for example, have the weight of well-established national broadcasters behind them, and a plethora of commercial channels to boot. There’s such a wealth of output that you just know you’ll find something to watch as gripping as Happy Valley or as fun as Strictly. There’ll be something that ticks off both your learning needs and your sofa downtime.
On the other hand, if you’re dealing with languages that have minority status, it can feel a lot harder. With all the will in the world, it’s been a challenge to replace my everyday entz with Gaelic pop media. It’s thanks largely to the BBC that there are globally available resources, namely Radio nan Gàidheal and BBC Alba. They’re truly wonderful, and the learner community is deeply grateful for them. That said, it’s just a guess, but they’re probably not top of the BBC’s funding list. The result is a lack of variety that leaves learners scrabbling for stuff that grabs their personal interest.
Now and again, though, a gem pops up. BBC Alba is gradually urning its drama arm into a well-oiled machine, evident in the popular, long-running series Bannan. That machine has just churned out an excellent new mini-series, An Clò Mòr, following the trials and tribulations of a weaving mill in the islands. It’s has all the ingredients of a great soap – family psychodrama, wheeling and dealing, guarded secrets – but the gravity of a primetime drama with superb performances from some familiar faces. Add to that the stunning island backdrop, and it’s a real telly treat to curl up on the sofa to.
So, at last, another ferry has arrived. And thankfully, it looks like BBC Alba is becoming adept at launching them out more and more regularly.
Roll on the next one!
Do you struggle to find target language pop culture swap-outs for your everyday media? What gems have you found? Let us know in the comments!