Baile Mhurain Project

Allan MacDonald

The funding agency MGALBA and the BBC ALBA (Sat channel 168), in early 2008 announced their firm intention of developing a drama strategy which looked to encompass in the medium term the development of a long-running drama series for BBC ALBA.  MG ALBA invited submissions containing a plan for the conceptual development, delivery, funding and co-funding of a returning drama series, set in and filmed in one of the Gaelic-speaking communities.
mneTV prepared and submitted “ Baile Mhurain.’’ A unique community, public and private initiative to deliver a broadcast drama solution and sustainable economic and cultural growth.
In a fully developed submission , mneTV proposed to establish a new company (Baile Mhurain Ltd ) in partnership with Stòras Uibhist Ltd , to produce a long running drama series from a base on the islands of South Uist and Benbecula in the Western Isles.

The community owned Storas Uibhist Ltd purchased the shares of South Uist Estates Ltd  with government agency support and now manages ninety-three thousand acres of land covering almost the whole of the islands of Benbecula, Eriskay and South Uist. The group of islands is home to a dynamic population of approximately 3,000 people, including 850 tenant crofters.

The “Baile Mhurainn” initiative has a value of £35m over 7 years giving a major economic boost to the area through the creation of 100 full time jobs, and the production of 104 episodes of television per year when in full production.

At this time there are no plans to develop the concept further with MG ALBA, but mneTV would be pleased to discuss it further with interested creative or funding partners.