Page last updated at 05:41 GMT, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 06:41 UK

Soap 'needed' for new Gaelic TV

The cast of Father Ted (Pic: Channel Four)
Mr Esslemont said Irish comedy Father Ted had been a huge hit

Thought must be given to securing a soap or long-running series for the planned new Gaelic Digital Service (GDS), one of its bosses has said.

Alan Esslemont, the new head of content at the Gaelic Media Service which would run GDS, said young audiences want comedy and entertainment.

He warned there was not funding available to commission a "mega hit" such as Father Ted or Friends.

However, he said a drama could eventually be screened on the service.

In the latest GMS newsletter, he said: "Comedy isn't an easy genre, in Gaelic or in English, and it's been a long while since there was a 'mega hit' like Friends or Father Ted on the small screen.

"For a station like this to be successful, it needs a soap or long running series.

"We haven't the budget right now to made a long drama series, but we have to start thinking about drama development and about possible sources of funding for this genre."

He added: "It won't happen overnight, but I'm certain it's something we can achieve."

Camera work

Meanwhile, a new television training facility is to open soon in preparation for the launch of GDS.

GMS will run it in partnership with college Sabhal Mor Ostaig on Skye.

The centre will be used for training in camera work, lighting, sound, writing and editing.

The BBC Trust gave its go-ahead in January for BBC Scotland and GMS to launch the new service, which includes television, radio and online services.

The trust said its approval was subject to certain conditions - including that it initially launches on cable, satellite and broadband.

A review of the service will be carried out before it is considered for broadcast on Freeview.

The trust said it expected the GDS to launch early in the summer.


SEE ALSO
Trust approves new Gaelic service
28 Jan 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Detail call on Gaelic media plans
21 Nov 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Gaelic service 'should do more'
12 Nov 07 |  Highlands and Islands

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