May 23, 2024

Sky Arts showcasing piping and drumming as “not for the faint-hearted” in three-part TV series

A screen capture from the Battle of the Bagpipe trailer.

The UK’s Sky Arts television channel is creating Battle of the Bagpipes, a three-part series that will begin on July 3rd.

Pipers, pipe band drummers and pipe bands often bemoan the lack of attention their art and achievements receive from mainstream media, and Battle of the Bagpipes appears to recognize the exciting culture that the scene often boasts.

According to Sky Arts, Field Marshal Montgomery, Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia, Inveraray & District, and Renfrewshire Schools will be profiled in their pursuit of competition success and “competing for the ultimate prize.”

The series will also look at what it purports to be a fraught battle by military pipers to be the Lone Piper playing on Edinburgh Castle ramparts as part of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August 2024 and the spotlighted solo piper at the coronation of King Charles III.

“Battle of the Bagpipes lifts the lid on piping traditions, culture, and its star players as they all compete for the ultimate piping prize,” said a Sky Arts spokesperson. “Following military and civilian pipe bands all striving to be the best of the best, this new series proves that piping is not for the faint-hearted.”

The world of Formula 1 racing got a massive lift from the Netflix series “Drive to Survive,” increasing worldwide interest in the somewhat esoteric sport immeasurably. Netflix positioned various drivers and their teams as often cutthroat rivals, painting them as both heroes and villains, probably causing not a little of eye-rolling by those on the inside of Formula 1. But the hyperbole was no doubt worth the trade-off for the attention it brought to the sport and culture.

“We’ll see if bags of talent are enough to blow away the competition.”

“Viewers will uncover the fiercely competitive audition process for the Lone Piper at the Royal Military Tattoo and follow new recruits taking part in their first piping competition in the hope to be selected for a once-in-a-lifetime piping opportunity to perform for the King,” Sky Arts added. “Meanwhile, long-time rival pipe bands go head-to-head at the fiercest competition in the piping world: Glasgow’s World Pipe Band Championships.”

Sky Arts confirmed that no bands, drummers or pipers were compensated for their starring roles in the series.

It’s unknown if the production teams ventured into beer tents to see how well most pipers and drummers get along in reality.

Most UK subscription packages include Sky Arts, a 24-hour TV channel featuring theatrical performances, films, documentaries and music. The channel is available in the UK through Freeview, Freesat, BT TV, Sky, Virgin Media, and TalkTalk TV and in the Republic of Ireland via Sky Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland, Vodafone Ireland and Eir.

“We’ll see if bags of talent are enough to blow away the competition,” says a Battle of the Bagpipes trailer.





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