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New BBC series puts focus on wild Scotland

The wilderness and wildlife of Scotland is to take centre stage in a series of programmes featuring Ewan McGregor and Sir David Attenborough.

close-up: Film crews have been following the wildlife in the Hebrides for the new series, which will feature Ewan McGregor and Sir David Attenborough. Main picture:  Jim Manthorpe
close-up: Film crews have been following the wildlife in the Hebrides for the new series, which will feature Ewan McGregor and Sir David Attenborough. Main picture: Jim Manthorpe

Programmes on the majesty of the Hebrides and the magic of a Scottish midsummer will headline the new series, entitled Wild Scotland.

Episodes from BBC Scotland will be aired over the spring and summer.

Executive producer Neil McDonald said the programmes celebrate "the televisual gift of the Scottish scenery and wildlife for viewers and for the people, behind the camera, that it inspires".

At the heart of the new season is a "landmark" series entitled Hebrides – Islands On The Edge.

Three years in the making, it has been created by some of the talent behind award-winning series such as Big Cat Diary and Frozen Planet, BBC Scotland said.

Made by Glasgow-based Maramedia, in association with Otter Films, the four-part series will be narrated by actor McGregor.

Among the animals to be featured in the series are basking sharks and white-tailed eagles, as well as red deer stags battling to win their mates and seals struggling to protect their newborn pups.

In a recent tweet, McGregor wrote: "2 days narrating BBCHebrides. It's one of the most beautiful films I've seen. Should be seen in Scotland in May. What a treat!"

Another four-part series, called Wild Cameramen At Work, promises to reveal how the Scottish landscape has inspired a generation of world-class cameramen. Narration for this show, made by a BBC Scotland team, will be provided by Sir David.

Each week will take a different theme – ice, land, sky or sea – to illustrate the challenges faced by those behind the camera. A third programme, Midsummer Live, will be broadcast over the course of the solstice evening on June 21.

Presented by Dougie Vipond, the live programme promises to provide a glimpse of the country as it enjoys some of the longest stretches of daylight in Europe. Over and above the main programming, the season will include links with other shows such as Landward and The Adventure Show. The programmes will initially be aired in Scotland but they will be available across the UK on BBC iPlayer. It is hoped they will be broadcast elsewhere in the UK at a later date.

"Scottish viewers will just not have seen Scottish scenery and wildlife reflected in such cinematic majesty before as we have in Hebrides – Islands On The Edge," Mr McDonald said.

"It is very much a landmark series for BBC Scotland in conjunction with independent TV company Maramedia, providing unprecedented images of the greatness and minutiae of the islands' wildlife. This is the flagship for a season of programmes.

"Across the season, we are also delighted to have such star names as Ewan McGregor and Sir David Attenborough involved, as well as some of the top names behind the camera alongside the main attraction: the landscape and wildlife."

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