An Island Parish

From the opening panoramic scenes of white sandy beaches, fishing boats, and crofters cottages, An Island Parish had me hooked. Set in the Outer Hebrides, the new fly-on-the-wall  BBC Two series follows the lives of three Catholic priests on the islands of Barra and South Uist, over the course of a year. It is the perfect antidote to an English city winter.

The first episode last Friday recorded the  arrival of young Fr John Paul MacKinnon who was taking over as parish priest on Barra, after saying goodbye to his first parish on the mainland in Glencoe.

It also introduced  Fr Roddy MacAulay, on the nearby island of South Uist,  who in addition to his priestly duties is a fine piper and keeps a smallholding with pedigree chickens (that he hopes will win a prize in the local agricultural  show).  There's also Fr Calum MacLellan, who at 83 is still very active and described by the Barra community shopkeeper as the most important member of the community.

In An Island Parish, viewers will see Fr John Paul get to grips with his new role on the Hebrides.  In the first episode he was given a warm welcome by the parish sister and some ladies who have a meal waiting for him.

Looking out over the harbour,  he says: "On a day like today, you realise how lucky you are to be given this opportunity. It's beautiful."

The programme notes say that episodes will also examine the future of the fishing industry and use of Gaelic on the Western Isles.

An Island Parish is shown on Fridays from 7.30pm  on BBC Two. If you missed the first episode, you can catch it again on:

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