Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Beag Air Bheag - The Broadcast

So... following on from the entry about 'Learner of the Week',  the interview itself has now been broadcast! Don't worry if you missed it, here are a few links for you:

To play the entire programme (Series 3, Programme 9) click on this line here. The interview on the finished programme is split into three parts, and you can hear this at 01:54, at 18:18, and at 52:12. This link and timings are correct until 10/1/16.

Or you can download the podcast by selecting Series 3 Programme 9 from the page clicking this line here. Interview timings may change as the music gets cut from the podcast.

Or, if you're REALLY REALLY bored, you can listen to the entire 26 minutes of interview (which was not broadcast in full due to time constraints) by clicking on this line. 

Needless to say, when it was broadcast on Sunday night I was very, very excited and more than a little bit nervous.

It is at this point I digress to mention a bit of TV work some friends of mine did. They were approached by a downmarket TV company and asked if they could be filmed to make a programme about caravanning. Some of my friends agreed, thinking it would help promote a pastime that they enjoyed.

What happened? About 20 hours of footage was edited to a preconceived agenda and it portrayed everyone in a really, really, bad light. If they said 98% good things and 2% daft things, the 98% of good was edited out, and the 2% daft was left in, to sensationalise the subject and portray the people involved in a negative light. Exactly the same footage could have been edited to produce a completely different portrayal. It was trash television at its worst.

My interview with Iain for Beag Air Bheag lasted about 35 minutes. Again, this could have been edited one of two ways for the 10-15 minutes that was finally broadcast. A cheap sensationalist who wanted to make me look stupid could have taken out all the good bits and left in all the pauses, stutters, and mistakes.

However, I was absolutely delighted (and more than a touch relieved) that the interview had been edited as kindly and as sympathetically as possible, editing out some of the massive clangers and stutters, and leaving in the bits that make me sound like I actually know what I'm talking about. If you listen to the full 26 minute interview, you'll hear that I'm nowhere near as fluent and correct as the 'final cut'.


It wasn't just Beag Air Bheag and the lovely people on the team there that helped pull me out from being down in the dumps where I had previously spent a couple of self-pitying weeks, not feeling the love for Gaelic.

I really thought that the last entry ('What goes Up...') would attract a couple of comments such as 'Oh stop moaning you self-pitying whingebag!' but there was nothing of the sort. All there was in response was kindness, support, and - sadly - thanks from other learners. It seems that 'bad days' affect most learners and the fact that nobody else seems to undertand can make us feel a wee bit alone and isolated.

I guess part of the challenge is that many Gaelic learners are learning remotely by distance learning. As such, there does not seem to be anywhere to turn for support when the going gets tough. This can especially be a problem for those whose friends and family do not support their Gaelic endeavours. I think there is another blog entry to be made about this at some point in the future.

But right now I am still basking in the warm glow of being part of a great radio programme which I cannot rate highly enough. Resources for 'upper intermediate/advanced' learners are scarce, and Beag Air Bheag is a terrific and much-needed asset.

If you fancy playing a part in the programme, you'll be treated with kindness and respect, and the experience is one of the best things that will happen to you on your Gaelic journey. Iain, Fiona, and Calum who work on the programme are absolute stars. Without Gaelic, I would never have met them. Just think about that for a minute. Without Gaelic I would never have met these and many other lovely, lovely people. If that isn't reason enough to enroll on An Cùrsa Inntrigidh at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig right here and now if you're not already learning Gaelic, I don't know what is. 


  1. I have a 98% transcription of the long form of the interview if of need. I was hoping you could fill in the gaps!

    1. WOW! What fantastic work! I have sent you an editing request and I will do what I can. Thank you so much, that is really impressive work! :)

    2. I've added my twopennorth now Alan. Once you've finalised it, may I share on the blog (with credit of course!)? I find it interesting indeed as I didn't always fully understand the questions (as you may notice)