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Natali Who Has Settled in Tain is One of The Ukrainians Featured in Eòrpa’s Special Report

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Eòrpa turns 30 as new series on BBC ALBA begins with Ukrainian refugee crisis report.

BBC ALBA’s award-winning current affairs programme Eòrpa returns in October to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

BBC ALBA’s flagship political and social affairs programme will mark three decades on screen in 2023 and returns on Thursday October 6 with an hour-long special on the refugee crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

Eòrpa first aired in April 1993 and has been a fixture of BBC ALBA’s output since the channel’s launch in 2008.

Its first presenter was Alex O’Henley, with John Morrison, Anna MacLeod and Donald Morrison working as reporters.

Thirty years ago, Scotland didn’t have its own parliament, John Major was prime minister and ‘Young at Heart’ by Scottish new wave band The Bluebells was at No 1 in the charts.

One of the topics of the first programme was the potential implementation of a new European currency – Euros.

While many things change, Eòrpa, has gone from strength to strength. 

This new series, presented by Annabel MacLennan and Andrew MacKinnon, will explore the issues of the day. 

A forthcoming report will investigate the impact of cost of living crisis in the islands with reports from Lewis, Harris and Uist, which have been particularly badly hit by surging costs.

Eòrpa presenter Annabel MacLennan.

There are, of course, more stories from Europe with Portugal’s response towards its involvement in the slave trade in the spotlight.

The series starts, though, with an hour-long special where Annabel meets Ukrainian refugees adapting to life in Scotland and Moldova, as well as exploring the impact of the ongoing conflict with Russia on their lives.

Moldova shares a border with Ukraine and initially received more refugees per head of population than any other country, despite being one of the poorest countries in Europe.

Eòrpa looks at the challenges the country faces in dealing with the influx, and how local organisations and groups are working to ease the plight of those fleeing the fighting.

Annabel also talks to Ukrainian families who have found refuge in Scotland.

From Edinburgh and Glasgow to Tain in the Highlands and Cardross in Argyll & Bute, Annabel speaks with Ukrainians about their experiences and what the future holds for them.

In Tain, Annabel meets Natali – who fled Ukraine with her mother and two sons, Artur and Illiia to settle in the Highland town where her cousin lives.

While they are slowly adjusting to life in Scotland, Natali’s husband and father remain in Khmelnytskyi, Western Ukraine and constantly remain in their thoughts.


In Cardross, Anna, her husband and their three young children are living with the MacDonald family.

Their journey to get to Scotland was arduous but the family is now settling after four months with Anna working as a school assistant and her husband as a civil engineer in Glasgow.

In Edinburgh, Annabel meets with Dnipro Kids, a charity set up by Hibernian supporters following the European match they contested with FC Dnipro in 2005. 

Over 17 years fans of both clubs have worked together to aid orphaned Ukrainian children, with their help needed now more than ever.

The documentary details their incredible journey and the work of Steven Carr to get 56 children and their house mothers from Ukraine to Scotland.

Nik has found his way to Edinburgh and is hoping to start a career as a journalist.

Also in Edinburgh, Annabel speaks to 22-year-old Nik from the Donbas who saw his life in Kyiv torn apart by the conflict. 

He fled via Russia and Latvia before arriving in Edinburgh, where he has ambitions of starting a career in journalism.

Thirty years on, Eòrpa remains at the heart of the big issues affecting Scotland and beyond.

Eòrpa airs on BBC ALBA on Thursday October 6 at 9.35pm and will be on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after.

The series will resume in its usual 8.30pm slot from Thursday October 13.

BBC ALBA is available on the following platforms:

Sky 117 (Scotland) / Sky 169 (rest of UK)

Freeview / You View 7 (Scotland only)

Virgin Media 120 (Scotland), Virgin Media 161 (rest of UK)

Freesat 109

BBC iPlayer

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