An Island Parish: Hectic Christmas? Try a change of pace with this gentle documentary

A slice of paradise: Hectic Christmas Try a change of pace with the sixth series of gentle documentary An Island Parish

From left: Fathers Roddy, John Paul and Calum

From left: Fathers Roddy, John Paul and Calum

Life isn’t perfect – not even in paradise. Just tune in to the new series of BBC2’s hit documentary series An Island Parish for proof of that.

For while the beaches are golden and the residents friendly on the unspoilt islands of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, there are a few causes for concern.

In the first episode, much-loved Father Roddy receives bombshell news that has major repercussions for those around him, while underlying the whole series is a plan to create a marine conservation area just off the coast that could lead to job cuts in the local fishing industry.

But the show’s executive producer, Paul Sommers, says An Island Parish still has the feelgood factor. ‘It’s what we call warm-bath television,’ he says. ‘You feel slightly better about life at the end of each episode.’

The new series focuses on the lives of priest Father John Paul and characters such as fisherman Coppertop and crofter Angus John Morrison, both of whom have discovered novel ways of boosting their incomes.

There’s also Sheila McIntosh, the only ice cream maker on the island of Barra, who wants the rain to stop so she can sell her ices to tourists. The producer of the previous five series of An Island Parish was acclaimed documentary maker Nigel Farrell.

Documentary maker Nigel Farrell

Documentary maker Nigel Farrell

Tragically, he became too ill to continue working after being diagnosed with cancer in 2010, and died in September. Nigel and Paul Sommers created the docusoap genre of programmes almost 20 years ago, applying the cliffhanger endings and multi-character storylines of soap operas to series such as The Village and Country House.

Nigel will be sadly missed, says Paul. ‘He made programmes that showed the best of people. He recognised viewers wouldn’t invite horrible individuals into their living rooms, so why would they choose to see horrible people on their TV screens He was one of the great TV documentary makers.’

An Island Parish, BBC2, Monday, 8.30pm.