THE island priest who starred in a popular reality TV show and who also saw the looting of a ship that inspired the novel Whisky Galore has died.
Father Calum MacLellan rose to stardom when he appeared on the BBC’s An Island Parish series, which followed the lives of three Hebridean island priests.
The 86-year-old had been ill for some time and passed away at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness early on Saturday morning.
He was one of three priests to appear on the popular show dubbed a real-life version of the Channel 4 comedy Father Ted.
The programme, which also starred Father John Paul MacKinnon and Father Roddy Macaulay, was a huge hit with viewers and a second series was commissioned.
It followed a year in the life of the three Roman Catholic priests, while they looked after the picturesque parishes.
When he was just 15 Father MacLellan witnessed the looting of a cargo of whisky from the Jamaica-bound SS Politician, which wrecked off his home island of Eriskay in February 1941 with 250,000 bottles onboard.
Despite the best efforts of UK customs officers, more than a tenth of the cargo was requisitioned by islanders who rowed a nightly flotilla of small boats between reefs to get to the wreck.
In 1947, the Scottish author Sir Compton MacKenzie, who lived on neighbouring Barra, wrote the novel Whisky Galore, which is based on the incident.
In 1949, it became a film of the same name, starring Basil Radford and Gordon Jackson.
The priest was a Gaelic-speaker and became the first vice-convenor of Western Isles Council when the Hebridean archipelago was unified under a single local government authority in 1975. He was later given the Freedom of the Western Isles for his contribution to the islands.
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