Mairead Hamilton, who is 27 years old, from Sleat, and a trainee director on BBC ALBA’s Gaelic drama Bannan, has won a one-year placement on the coveted MA Television Fiction Writing Course at Glasgow Caledonian University.   

Mairead is pictured above working on the set of Bannan.

MG ALBA, the Gaelic media service, is committed to offering its support to current and aspiring Gaelic media industry professionals through a number of initiatives.

One such project is the MG ALBA scholarship which enables one lucky Gaelic speaker to study television fiction writing at Glasgow Caledonian University.

The post-graduate course is designed to allow aspiring screenwriters to gain the necessary skills to embark upon or strengthen their career in television fiction writing. 

Having graduating in 2011 with a first class joint honours degree in Gaelic and Film & Television Studies from the University of Glasgow, where she now lives,  Mairead’s first step into television drama was as a runner on the pilot episodes of BBC ALBA’s drama series Bannan, produced by Christopher Young who is also  known for his work on the popular drama The Inbetweeners.

This experience saw Mairead become the assistant to Chris Young and director, Tony Kearney on a block of filming for the first series of Bannan, and consequently being made trainee director and directing two full episodes. Mairead then gained full director credits for a further two episodes which she has recently been directing for the fourth series of Bannan, due to be shown on BBC ALBA next year.

During her time on the MA Television Fiction Writing course, Mairead will be working intensively on at least two drama series currently transmitted on British television including Eastenders and River City, learning how to story conference, write scripts and edit these dramas.   Mairead said: “I am hugely passionate about working through the medium of Gaelic and to have secured MG ALBA’s scholarship on the course is a great step in my career progression at a time when I can further my learning in the media industry and build my skill set and confidence.

“I really enjoy directing and writing and believe directing is a way of storytelling with images, so to be able to work on my script writing skills whilst gaining advice from some of the leading industry professionals around is a fantastic opportunity. I had the chance to work with some top names whilst working on Bannan and my hands-on experience has been hugely invaluable.”

Earlier this year, Mairead was also a beneficiary of MG ALBA’s Celtic Media Festival bursary, being one of five to participate in this year’s Celtic Media Festival in Dungarvan, on the south west coast of Ireland.

Iseabail Mactaggart, MG ALBA Director of Strategy and Partnership, said: “It is essential to encourage aspiring young people to pursue a career in Gaelic media as well as enhancing opportunities for those already working in the industry. One of our main objectives is to nurture future generations and allow a platform for them to realise their potential and better their career prospects.

“Mairead is an extremely talented trainee director and the post-graduate course is an excellent opportunity to help Mairead develop her skill set and learn from academic lecturers as well as leading TV script writers who have worked on many popular titles including Eastenders, Casualty and River City.  We would encourage anyone interested in a career in Gaelic media to grasp every opportunity available.” 

Mairead at work on the set of Bannan