It’s of note that Doctor Who, Torchwood and Life on Mars are all productions of BBC Wales, and not directly spawned by the London-based mothership. No – they’re too busy with the National Lottery, Eastenders and Holby City.
But Wales are not the only BBC region producing original sci-fi or fantasy content. BBC Alba, the Gaelic-language channel have something of their own.
Last Saturday evening at 5.30pm, while most TV sci-fi fans across the UK were waiting patiently for the latest Who, viewers of Alba were treated to 30 minutes of Siubhlachan (which translates as The Traveller). Here’s the show’s blurb:
A young girl inherits a watch from her grandfather that allows her to travel backwards and forwards through time. She quickly discovers there are dark forces who want the watch for themselves – and will stop at nothing to get it.
And as you can probably tell from that description, it was family viewing but with an edge of menace. Like Who, of course, or perhaps Box of Delights, or any of those old serials that used to play nightmare games with the kiddies’ brains, things like Children of the Stones or Moondial.
Siubhlachan was originally broadcast at Christmastime in 2009, so at this stage it doesn’t look likely we’ll ever see a full series – I’m guessing Alba’s budgets must be very small indeed and this show would necessarily stretch them somewhat.
Though maybe we can encourage them by checking out the iPlayer stream while it’s still available. We have until this Saturday afternoon, after which it goes back into the digital vault indefinitely.
Before you get stuck into that, there is a five-minute prequel short. Director Uisdean Murray shot the short as part of a competition, and the pilot commitment from Alba was his prize.
Murray told Reel Scotland that there is ” a recap at the start of the pilot, but I would recommend watching the short first if possible.”
Here’s the prequel:
And the pilot lives on the BBC iPlayer.
Thanks to Reel Scotland’s Jon Melville for the alert.